Reps seek conversion of forfeited, abandoned property to public use

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The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to renovate and convert its abandoned buildings and forfeited lands locally and abroad for public use.

The resolution of the House was sequel to the adoption of a motion titled, “Call to convert abandoned and seized properties including buildings and lands for public use,” moved by the member representing Oredo Federal Constituency of Edo State, Iyawe Esosa, on the floor of the House at Wednesday’s plenary.

Esosa argued that some agencies of government were operating from rented office apartments whereas the Federal Government has a lot of abandoned properties spread across the country.

He argued that asset recovery remains a powerful but underutilised tool against domestic and international corruption, noting that the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act provides a robust legal framework for managing and recovering such proceeds.

The lawmaker recalled that in 2017, the Federal Government converted landed properties seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for office use by some agencies, thus saving the country about N180bn.

“Some agencies of government operating in states across the country are experiencing challenges in finding office accommodation due to difficulties in paying rent,” adding that “Reports have revealed that over 50 assets confiscated from politically exposed persons, civil servants, and other individuals are currently unoccupied and rotting away.”

The House, following the adoption of the motion, referred it to the Committee on Public Assets for further legislative action.

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