By Alex Okoro
OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently introduce a policy that would regulate house rents and also impose taxes on unoccupied houses that have continued to litter the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The House in a unanimous decision at Thursday’s plenary also mandated its committees on the FCT and Housing to commence investigation into the reasons for the astronomical rise in rent in the territory.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion introduced on the floor by Mr. Segun Adekola who raised the alarm over the rate of rent in the FCT, warning that if the situation was not addressed, the middle and low income earners residing in Abuja will continue to suffer.
Adekola recalled that in the past, government took the lead in constructing residential houses for the citizenry, but worried about the federal government’s current policy thrust that recognizes only the private sector as the main solution to the housing deficit on the country.
This, according to him, has given room for indiscriminate charges by private developers.
The lawmaker lamented that at a time when many Nigerians do not have access to anything close to a decent accommodation, a large number of completed, but unoccupied structures litter the nation’s capital in the prime areas of Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse and Garki, thereby forcing many people to live in the outskirts of the city.
The lawmaker told the House that “the housing deficit in Nigeria is about 17 million, with the federal capital territory, Abuja accounting for 10 percent of this deficit.”