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Housing Stakeholders Call For Measures To Address The Increasing Rate of Empty Houses

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Naomi Gabriel —

Key figures in the Nigerian housing sector have called on the government to regulate the construction industry to enable it curb the increasing rate of vacant buildings seen across the country, particularly, its capital, Abuja.

This was gotten yesterday in separate interviews with the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) in Abuja.

While saying that the threat posed by the number of empty houses in the country is becoming alarming, even as the government struggled to mitigate the country’s housing deficit, the experts added that one of the ways to address the issue was ‘sectoral’.

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President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko called for regulation of the sector to curb the threat of abandoned buildings and also stated that abandoned buildings pose a serious danger to society and a loss to the economy.

“I am calling on the House of Representatives to agree to the Real Estate Developers Regulation Bill 2021, which has already passed for House approval, he expressed.

“I think when we can achieve that, a lot will be accomplished in terms of avoiding building collapses, scattered unfinished buildings, and booby traps in the housing industry. Additionally, FCT management must understand that when they give construction approval, there must be a time limit for a building to be completed.

“Otherwise, they should be given a warning and after that warning, the revocation of that land”, Wamakko added.

He went further to say that when these steps are taken, it would help reduce the threat of vacant buildings, especially at the FCT.

Mr. Sharafadeen Olumo, a senior civil servant at the Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said many empty buildings in Nigeria were owned by .

According to him, these properties are not in the categories that can be rented because the people who can rent them can also afford to build their own.

“They are big properties and the owners can have five, 10 or even more and they cannot be rented and the reason for the buildings in some cases is that they are used to hide corrupt funds.

“It’s just a way to keep their money safe because when they need to, they keep selling these houses one after another.

“The poor do not have the ability to rent such houses nor would they be able to live in the high-end areas like Maitama, Asokoro and Wuse 2 where they are built.

“In the suburbs, you can’t find these empty houses. These are the main reasons why you have empty houses in Abuja.

“And in most cases, the condition of the houses deteriorates in such a way that the owners continue to maintain that they are not using them and this is a great economic loss for the country.”

He therefore, urged the government to take measures against those people who leave their buildings, causing inconvenience to the homeless individuals and families who live in them.

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