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Housing Ministry, EFCC To Set Up Housing Fraud Detection, Monitoring Platform

“If you think you can defraud Nigerians and get away with it, you are mistaken.”

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa at the weekend issued a strong warning to real estate developers who engage in the construction of substandard projects and other fraudulent practices to desist from such behaviour or face the wrath of the law.

This was as the minister reiterated the resolve of the ministry to ensure that developers construct houses in line with laid down laws and regulations and prevent fraudulent practices in the sector.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the minister, Mr Mark Chieshe, said Dangiwa was speaking at the commissioning of De Mayor’s Estate and the flag-off of Project Broadfield in Abuja.

Dangiwa cautioned against the use of substandard building materials as well as unethical practices, warning that those who fail to build within stipulated guidelines will be prosecuted.

He also warned those who collect money from unsuspecting Nigerians only to turn around and deliver substandard projects, stating that the days of cutting corners were over.

“I want to warn all developers, and I advise them to see this as the final warning that they will get. The days of cutting corners in the housing sector are over. If you think you can defraud Nigerians of their hard-earned money and get away with it in this present time, you are mistaken.

“For those who collect money from beneficiaries and, at the end of the day, fail to deliver and dupe ordinary Nigerians who simply want a decent place to call home, the law will soon catch up with you. Stop doing it because the days are over for such practices,” he said.

He noted that Nigerians have been victims of unscrupulous elements in the built environment for far too long, stressing that such practices amount to financial crimes.

“When you go into a contract with a subscriber to build XYZ with certain features, and at the end of the day, you renege on that agreement, that amounts to a breach of contract. Some will collect the money and abscond with it; that’s extortion by false pretence and these are financial crimes.

“That’s why the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is now collaborating with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to go after such developers, ensure accountability in the sector, and protect the rights and investments of Nigerians,” Dangiwa said.

Elaborating on the strategy after the event, the Dangiwa stated that the ministry plans to establish a housing fraud monitoring platform that will enable Nigerians nationwide to report incidents of housing fraud by developers.

“The primary goal of the platform is to monitor and detect instances of housing fraud perpetrated by dubious developers and ensure accountability in the sector.

“We aim to protect the rights and investments of Nigerians by creating a transparent and accountable system. Using the platform, we will empower Nigerians with a transparent tool to report dubious developers and work in collaboration with the EFCC to investigate reported cases of housing fraud,” he stated.

The proposed platform, he said, will provide a user-friendly online interface for Nigerians nationwide to report incidents of housing fraud.

The minister stressed that users can submit complaints, provide evidence, and share relevant information about fraudulent practices anonymously or with their identity disclosed, depending on their preference.

“The online platform will collect, analyse, and categorise reported cases of housing fraud. It will gather information such as location, developer details, type of fraud, and evidence provided by victims of housing fraud. This data will help identify patterns, trends, and hotspots of fraudulent activities in the real estate sector.

“The platform will operate within the existing legal framework governing the real estate sector. It will support legal actions against fraudulent developers by providing evidence and support to law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies.

“By implementing the housing fraud detection and monitoring platform, the ministry aims to curtail housing fraud, ensure there are legal consequences for fraudulent developers, promote transparency, and safeguard the interests of Nigerians in the real estate market,” Dangiwa added.

Emmanuel Addeh

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