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Senate moves to stop annual rents in FCT  

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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…As bill to regulate payment mode passes second reading 
 
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 chamber 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 haven 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.

“[And] so, Mr. President, I think we are doing the right thing if we look at the intendment of this bill.

“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.

Meanwhile, three other bills also scaled second reading during plenary on Tuesday.

They are a bill to establish the Federal University of Environmental Technology Saakperwa Tai Ogoni, Rivers State; a Bill to Establish the Solid Minerals Development Bank; and a Bill to amend the National Health Act 2014.

The bills were sponsored by Senators Mpigi Barinada (Rivers South East), Yakubu Useni (Kogi Central) and Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central), respectively.

The bill to establish the Federal University of Environmental Technology, was referred by the Deputy Senate President after consideration to the Committees on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to report back in two weeks.

The other two bills to Establish the Solid Minerals Development Bank; and to amend the National Health Act 2014, were referred to the Committees on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy; and Health (Secondary and Tertiary) for further work.

Both Committees were given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.

 

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Oyebanji Is Back From USA

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Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji
Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji
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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji this morning returned from his working visit to the United States of America.

A statement by the Special Adviser ( Media), to the Governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode said Oyebanji arrived the Muritala Mohammed Airport, Lagos around 10am and was received by some government officials.

The Governor will attend to some scheduled meetings in Lagos later today and head to Abuja on Thursday for other scheduled assignments.

Governor Oyebanji, in the course of the working visit to America, had extensive talks with some heads of governments and institutions, business leaders and development partners, exploring investment opportunities for the state’s power infrastructure, the Special Agriculture Processing Zone and the Ekiti Knowledge Zone, among others.

“These were outside his participation in the US-Africa Business Summit and the signing of MOU with CAVISTA Holdings for a multi billion naira 100,000 hectares cassava farm in the state.” the statement said.

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Labour Rejects FG’s Fresh ₦54,000 Minimum Wage Proposal

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The Federal Government has proposed to pay N54,000 as minimum wage, as the Tripartite Committee on the New Minimum Wage returned to the negotiation table after the Organised Labour pulled out of the negotiations last week.

At the reconvened meeting this week, the Federal Government made a fresh proposal to pay N54,000 as against the initial N48,000 it proposed during the last sitting.

However, a reliable source at the meeting said that the Organised Labour refused the new proposal, as it is a far cry from the N615,000 proposed by both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

According to the source, the meeting which held behind closed doors at the Nicon luxury hotel in Abuja on Tuesday has been adjourned to Wednesday, May 22 to continue with negotiations.

The Organised Labour comprising the NLC and the TUC had on Tuesday given the Federal Government up till the end of May to conclude negotiations for a new minimum wage.

The unions also directed their members in states that are owing the N30,000 minimum wage to gear up for industrial action.

May 31 Deadline
The Federal Government had failed to present a nationally acceptable minimum wage to Nigerians before the May 1 Labour Day.

The situation has forced labour to be at loggerheads with the government. In the wake of the tussle, NLC President Joe Ajaero insisted on the N615,000 minimum wage, arguing that the amount was arrived at after an analysis of the economic situation worsened by the hike in the cost of living and the needs of an average Nigerian family of six.

With the cost of living rising following the removal of fuel subsidy, calls for a new minimum wage have continued to make headlines in Nigeria.

Ajaero and labour leaders gave the Federal Government a May 31 deadline to meet their demands.

 

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EFCC Arrests 78 Internet Fraudsters In Enugu, Imo

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Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede
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The operatives of the Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested 78 suspected internet fraudsters in Enugu and Imo States.

EFCC spokesman Dele Oyewale disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday, May 20, 2024.

Oyewale noted that 29 suspected internet fraudsters were arrested in Enugu metropolis on May 15, while 49 others were nabbed in Imo State on May 17.

He said the suspects were arrested following actionable intelligence about their suspected involvement in online criminal activities.

The EFCC spokesperson listed items recovered from the suspects to include 13 cars, mobile phones, and laptops.

Oyewale added that the suspected internet fraudsters would be charged to court upon the conclusion of investigations.

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