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Senate Makes Progress Towards Stopping Payment of Annual Rents in FCT

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 A bill seeking to make the annual payment of rent illegal in the Federal Capital Territory has scaled second reading in the Senate. 
Tagged: “A Bill for the Regulation of Advanced Rent on Residential Apartments, Office Space” was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West). 
 The lawmaker, in his lead debate on the general principles, said the bill seeks to regulate the mode of payment of rent on residential apartments, office space, rooms and accommodation in the FCT.

 
According to him, the move by the Senate to regulate the payment of rents in the FCT stemmed from the obligation of its constitutional responsibilities, aimed at impacting the lives of residents.
 
“If passed, this Bill will improve the well-being and standard of living of residents and minimize corruption and immorality emanating from the oppressive tenancy system in the Federal Capital Territory. 
“This Bill will make life less stressful and less painful for majority of the down-trodden and low income earners in the Federal Territory”, Adeyemi said.
He explained further that due to global economic recession, life  has become very challenging and almost unbearable for the low income earners despite the huge palliative measures by the Federal Government through the N-POWER traders money.


He noted that in the FCT, Landlords demand between one to three years advanced rent, a situation which he pointed, “automatically adds a huge burden on the masses, subsequently giving rise to desperation and corruption.”
He lamented that the “tenancy system has continuously impoverished Nigerians who are salaried employees that can only pay rent after having received their first remuneration.”
“This tenancy system is unafrican, unislamic and indeed unbiblical”, the lawmaker added.
Adeyemi expressed concern that many residents of the FCT are finding it difficult to cope with huge rent payment, adding that, “many houses built within the city center for such purposes are empty.” 
He said that yearly tenancy has continued to breed corruption, moral decadence and huge inequality as low income earners who cannot afford to continually pay their rent.
According to him, some tenants now engage in corrupt practices, immorality, and even criminal acts to meet the pressing need of shelter. 
He underscored the need for Legislation aimed towards justice, fairness, equity and improved standard of living.
He noted that in the FCT, a single one room apartment ranges from one million (N1,000,000) Naira to two million (N2,000,000) Naira within the city.
According to the lawmaker, in the satellite towns such as Kubwa, Nyanya, Kuje, Lugbe, rents are still not affordable for the common man as it ranges from Three hundred and fifty thousand naira (N350,000.00) to Five Hundred thousand naira (N500,000.00).
He stated that the bill, therefore, seeks to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months and, thereafter, proceed with the monthly payment scheme.
“It also seeks to protect low income earners from any form of oppression by homeowners.
“The bill also seeks to provide a window for legal action for any form of oppression. 
“Importantly, it will also serve as a safety net for Landlords against erring tenants”, he added.
Contributing to the debate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, while supporting the bill, described the piece of legislation as “people-centered.”


He said, “The truth is out there, many residents in the FCT are groaning under this very difficult system where people are expected to pay house rent in advance.
“With the policy where government has withdrawn participation in providing official quarters with demonetization, we are all aware, young Nigerians who are gaining employment within the precinct of the FCT for example, majority of them are actually in the outskirts.
“This is because it is extremely difficult for most of these young Nigerians to get the quantum of money that represent two years rent. 
“If there is a good system as this, where on a monthly basis as the man receives his salary, he is making payment for what he has consumed,  I think it will be a very good and welfare oriented system, one that is friendly to those that do not have.”
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary, described the bill as “popular” owing to the number of Nigerians who have showed interest in it.


However, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East), a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senator and the only lawmaker in the chamber who spoke against the bill, argued the issue of rent payment should be driven by market forces.
“The issue of rental payment, either in advance or installments is purely economical and should be driven by market forces.
“Such market forces as availability of land, cost of building materials and income.
“If government wants to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses, government can go into housing schemes, mortgage schemes, housing credit facilities, not control the business of private individuals in an emerging African democracy. 
“I, therefore, oppose, and oppose vigorously this bill”, he said. 


Senators, however, voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill when the Deputy Senate President put the question for it to be read a second time.
The bill was subsequently referred by Omo-Agege to the Committee on Housing and Urban Development for further inputs.  The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary. 

Environment

Erosion Control Project: Gombe SEC Approves N389m Compensation for Residents

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The Gombe State Executive Council (SEC) has approved payment of N389 million as compensation for residents that would be affected by the gully erosion control project at Federal College of Education (FCE) Technical and its surrounding communities.

The Commissioner for Finance, Gombe State, Malam Mohammed Magaji, stated this at the end of the SEC meeting on Friday in Gombe.

Magaji said the payment, which would commence immediately, would be for individuals and organisations along the gully erosion site.

He said almost 1000 persons were expected to benefit from the gesture.

According to him, the compensation is part of the requirements of the World Bank, which specifies that such payments be made to property owners.

Magaji said the payment would also be made to ensure seamless resettlement of affected persons.

“The beneficiaries are in hundreds, almost a 1,000 people; there is compensation for houses, and also for business premises.

“There is also stipends for the elderly living around that area so that they are able to have good livelihood,” he said.

The commissioner for Education, Hajiya Aishatu Maigari, also said the SEC approved upgrade of the five mega senior secondary schools in the state to sustain improvement in the education sector.

Maigari said the upgrade would be carried out based on the needs of each of the schools.

She stated that infrastructure in some of the schools were already being upgraded to global standards.

“We have seen construction of toilets, installation of solar-powered light, construction of roads, school clinics, boreholes and many more,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government had on Nov. 23 signed a N12 billion contract with Triacta Nigeria Ltd. for a 21-kilometre gully erosion control work in six communities within Gombe metropolis.

The project is under ACRESAL project, a World Bank-assisted project to address the challenges of land degradation and climate change in northern Nigeria. (NAN)

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Environment

Fire Razes Household Properties Estimated at Millions of Naira

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The Ebonyi Fire Service, on Tuesday confirmed that a fire incident destroyed properties estimated at millions of naira at the residence of Mr Chris Uchaji, a former commissioner in the state.

Mr Raphael Ibiam, the Chief Fire Officer of the agency, said that the inferno was suspected to have been caused by an electrical spark within the building.

He explained that the fire razed valuable household properties in three rooms of the storey building.

He said no life was lost in the incident as his men responded promptly and was later assisted by the Federal Fire Service.

“At about 0800 hours, there was a fire outbreak at 13 Lawrence Ónór street, off Nna street.

“It destroyed properties in a storey building belonging to Mr Chris Uchaji, a Former State Commissioner for Solid Mineral Development,” Ibiam said.

Uchaji told newsmen shortly after the incident, that he was at the stadium with his wife for morning exercise when he received a distress call from his security man that his family house was on fire.

“We quickly rushed to the scene, only to see many people on a rescue mission as the whole house had been engulfed.

“I suspected it was due to an electrical spark and it started in my wife’s room, where my six-year-old daughter was sleeping.

“The intensity of the fire was high and it spread to other rooms, causing massive damage, but thank God no life was lost.

“I thank God for people’s goodwill and the fire service. Though the state fire service came here, their water finished early, but with the intervention of federal firefighters, they were able to control the fire.” Uchaji said.(NAN)

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Environment

Nigeria’s NGO Takes Plights of Local Communities to COP28

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Connected Advocacy for Empowerment and Youth Development, a Nigeria-based NGO, has called for the involvement of local communities in decision-making on climate solutions in order to build a sense of responsibility and unity.

Mr Israel Orekha, Executive Director of the NGO, made the call on Monday in his address at a side event organised at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai.

“The event is themed “Putting Local Community First in Climate Agenda.

’’

Orekha advocated policy changes that incentivised and prioritised sustainable practices at the local and national levels

According to him, empowering communities through participation will ensure that solutions align with local needs.

He also called for inclusive policies that addressed both environmental and social aspects of clean energy transitions.

The executive director particularly canvassed for the consideration of local community in the clean energy transition plan.

The local community, he said, needed clean energy transition parks and not false solutions.

“Clean energy transition parks not only combat climate change but also strengthen community resilience.

“Local involvement in these parks is key to addressing pressing environmental challenges.

“Beyond jobs, clean energy engagement enhances community knowledge about sustainable practices.

“Involving communities in clean energy decisions fosters responsibility and unity.

“Local job opportunities and skill development can result from participation in the renewable energy sector.”

Orekha also underscored the importance of transparency in decision-making processes so as to discern genuine solutions from greenwashing.

“False solutions can perpetuate environmental injustice, disproportionately affecting marginalised communities.

“False solutions, like greenwashing, hinder genuine progress.

“Thorough research and community input are essential for sustainable solutions,’’ he said.

Reports says that clean energy parks are separate areas used and planned for the purpose of clean energy development, like wind and solar generation facilities.(NAN)

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