By Adedapo Adesanya
The issues raised in a bill earlier passed by the Senate as regards regulations for the real estate sector in Nigeria have now been addressed.
On Wednesday, the upper chamber of the National Assembly passed a legislature to establish the Real Estate Regulatory Council of Nigeria.
When established, the agency would, amongst others, curb fraudulent practices to ensure that the real estate business confirms with the National Building Code in Nigeria.
The bill which scaled third reading during plenary is tagged: The Real Estate Regulatory Council of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2021.
The bill sponsored by the senator representing Sokoto North, Mr Aliyu Wamakko was read for the first time on April 28, 2021, and a scaled second reading on June 22, 2021.
The passage of the bill on Wednesday followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Establishment and Public Service.
The report was laid during the plenary by the Deputy Chief Whip, Mr Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
Mr Nicholas Tofowomo, who presented the report on behalf of the Committee Chairman, Ibrahim Shekarau, said the establishment of the Real Estate Council of Nigeria would provide efficient, effective and transparent administration of the business of real estate development in Nigeria.
According to the lawmaker, the council would be responsible for prescribing minimum standards for the conduct of the businesses of real estate development across the country.
He recalled that the bill seeking to establish the Real Estate Council of Nigeria was passed by both chambers of the eighth National Assembly, but was not assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the President’s decision to withhold assent to the bill was a result of certain observations raised by stakeholders at the time.
“Those observations have been taken care of in this report by the Committee following the engagement with stakeholders to ensure that real estate business in Nigeria confirms with the Money Laundering Act 2011 (as amended) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2018 in terms of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing due diligence compliance”, Mr Tofowomo said.
He explained that when established, the organisation would standardize the business of real estate by regulating the conduct of transactions; and provide enabling environment and transparency in the business of real estate development in Nigeria.
The lawmaker stated that it would also curb fraudulent practices to ensure that the real estate business confirms with the National Building Code in Nigeria; as well as create an innovative and sustainable environment to promote Nigeria as a real estate investment destination in Africa and the world.
Meanwhile, two bills seeking to establish the Federal Orthopedic Hospital, Patigi, Kwara State; and Federal University of Agriculture, Akure, Ondo State, have passed second reading in the Senate.
The bills were sponsored by Senators Sadiq Suleiman Umar and Patrick Ayo Akinyelure.
The bills after scaling the second reading were referred by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over the plenary on Wednesday to the Committees on Health (Secondary and Tertiary); and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further inputs.
Both committees were given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.
IPMAN May Halt Fuel Distribution to Sokoto, Kebbi, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Gusau Depot, has threatened to stop transporting petroleum products within Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and parts of Katsina state.
According to the IPMAN’s Zonal Chairman, Mr Yahya Kamba, the threat came following the federal government’s failure to settle its N40 billion outstanding payment to IPMAN members.
According to Mr Kamba, the payment is based on importation and transportation claims of up to 11 months.
He said the federal government has reneged on the agreement reached with the association.
“It is not a subsidy,” Mr Kamba said, explaining that. “It is money that we marketers contributed. We have to pay a certain amount for every litre we purchase from the government. Just for the country to have a uniform pump price.”
“We contributed this money just the way pensioners contribute their own. So, there is no reason anyone can give us to say they have no money. We are asking for our own contribution.
“Our arrangement is for the Ministry to pay us every week; when you transport this product, you are supposed to be paid within a week; but now we are counting months. We have counted up to 11 months. The payment has stopped since June 2021,” he added.
Amid the recent fuel shortage that rocked Abuja, the marketers had claimed that there was no money to buy the product until the federal government pays the claims and also assist in allocating a cargo of AGO to hasten loading from various loading depots.
EFCC Questions Ex-NDDC Boss Nsima Ekere Over N47bn Fraud
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former NDDC boss was at the Lagos office of the agency on Wednesday to honour an invitation to him to answer questions surrounding an alleged fraud to the tune of N47 billion.
In 2016, a year after losing the governorship primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State to Governor Udom Emmanuel, he was appointed as the MD of the commission.
He left office in 2018 to concentrate on his ambition to rule his home state and contested the gubernatorial poll in 2019 under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost again to Mr Emmanuel.
In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019 and the report of the exercise, according to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said several frauds were uncovered.
The EFCC, reports said, has been trailing Mr Ekere and yesterday, he turned himself in and he was questioned on the allegations of contract inflation and award of fictitious contracts while in office.
This development is coming two days after the anti-money laundering organisation arrested the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, over allegations of diversion of N80 billion.
He was suspended yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainah Ahmed, to enable a transparent investigation into the matter.
Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh, was apprehended on Tuesday by the agency over allegations of diversion of funds for projects.
IPMAN, EFCC Move Against Oil Theft, Vandalism in N’Delta
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has sought the support and intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in curbing oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of IPMAN, Mr Bello Binna, during a visit to the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, in his office.
Mr Binna said that the EFCC was the only agency trusted to give solutions on issues of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, IPMAN was more comfortable with what the EFCC is doing to curb
“We are here to collaborate with the Agency with which we are more comfortable, and we believe that with your support, our jobs will have a headway.
“In the past, our efforts have been wasted, we were advised that the agency that has the mandate to make our job effectively is the EFCC,” he said.
Responding, the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, said the EFCC was working tirelessly to put an end to the menace of illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Nwokike also stressed the need to educate youths within the region on the ills of oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.
“I assure you that the EFCC has the desire to reduce, if not bring to an end, the menace of illegal oil bunkering.
“We will educate our youths on the dangers of this, which is part of our mandate, educating our youths on why they must leave these illegalities. We must all come together to see how we can tackle this menace. I want to assure you that we will work together,” he said.
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