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Convert abandoned, seized buildings to public use, reps tell FG

The house of representatives has asked the federal government to refurbish and repurpose seized buildings and landed properties for public use.

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during the plenary session on Wednesday after the adoption of a motion sponsored by Esosa Iyawe from Edo state.

The buildings and landed properties the lawmakers asked the federal government to convert to public use include those within and outside the country.

Moving the motion, Iyawe said asset recovery is “a powerful but underutilised tool against domestic and international corruption”.

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The legislator said the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act provides a robust legal framework for managing and recovering such properties.

He added that the federal government has the power to allocate permanently forfeited property to security and other government agencies for use.

Iyawe said the federal government, in 2007, converted buildings seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for office use by some agencies.

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He noted that the exercise saved the country about N180 billion.

The lawmaker said the government agencies operating in various states across the country are “experiencing challenges in finding office accommodation due to difficulties in paying rent”.

“Reports have revealed that over 50 assets confiscated from politically exposed persons, civil servants, and other individuals are currently unoccupied and rotting away,” Iyawe said.

The motion was voted and approved by the legislators when Ben Kalu, the presiding officer, put it to a voice vote.

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The house mandated the committee on public assets to ensure compliance.

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