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Senate probes N6t unpaid ground rent by property owners

The Senate has set up an adhoc committee to investigate and recover the over N6 trillion accrued from the non-payment of ground rent from property owners across the country.

Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf coming under orders 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Rules sponsored the motion.

According to Yusuf, the Land Use Act has vested ownership rights to the Federal Government over its land in states and the Federal Capital Territory.

He stated that the rights include the power to control and regulate town planning and physical development in relation to such lands and by extension prescribing and collection of any tax, fees or rates.

The lawmaker lamented that since 1992, over two million houses across the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT, have been built and allocated to beneficiaries by the Federal Government, yet majority have no evidence of payment of ground rent on their properties.

He noted that with the current revenue challenges facing the country, there is a need for the government to look into other means of generating income than relying on oil revenue.

Yusuf further stated that investigation revealed that the failure of relevant authorities to recover these funds has led the country to losing over N6 trillion.

Lawmakers took turns to call on the Federal Government to come up with a computerised system where all allotted lands and properties, persons yet to pay are captured and fashion out mode of recovering these funds.

The Senate resolved to constitute an adhoc committee to investigate the inability of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to investigate and recover these incomes for the government.

The upper chamber is to also investigate the circumstances that led to the inability of the Land Use Act allocation committee, saddled with the responsible of handing rent and licence matter, to carry out its responsibility on the matter.

The Red Chamber also called for a comprehensive data of Federal Gvernment’s property  that are sold to the public under the Ministry of Works and Housing across the country.

The Senate therefore set up the committee and members include Senator Adamu Aliero, Senator Sani Musa, Senator Sam Egwu, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Betty Apiafi and Senator Yusuf Abubarkar Yusuf.

After setting up the Committee, the Senate gave the committee one month to report back to plenary.



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