A former Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday called for the review of tenancy laws in states to compel landlords to collect rents monthly.
Fashola made the call while speaking during the launch of his book titled: “Nigerian Public Discourse: The Interplay of Empirical Evidence and Hyperbole”, in Lagos. He said that advance payment of rent, up to three years or more, was overwhelming tenants.
According to him, many houses are unoccupied due to the way rents are being collected. ”That is not the only reason, but if you do not understand how dramatic and painful that three, four or five years rent has become to our nation, we have not consciously done anything to it. ”Can we bring it down from three years to one year? Can we hopefully bring it down to six months? Can we let it coincide with when people get paid? At the end of the month instead of in advance?” he said.
Fashola described data as the most important currency in the world, which no central bank could print. He, therefore, called for the utilisation of accurate data for better planning in the country. ”So, accurate data will help us determine how many we are, what amount of water we need, what quantity of food, data makes this very important, accurate data, therefore, will be beneficial for us.
”Life without shortage of basic needs, like food, like water, like shelter and energy will be a good life, and data is critical to this objective,” he said.
Mr Opeyemi Agbaje, author and academic, who reviewed the book, said that Fashola wrote a thoughtful and analytical book, which sought to destroy hyperbolism, fallacies and myths.
Agbaje explained that the book had 16 chapters delving into issues of corruption, poverty, the Nigerian constitution, minimum wage and governance, among others.
He urged Nigerians, especially the media, to seek correct facts, statistics and data, as hyperbole could thrive if the people were undereducated with the right facts.
According to him, the author agrees that there is misconstrued information out to the public, therefore, the book will help put out the true picture of issues.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a panel of experts discussed the importance of data to development at the book launch.
The panellists all agreed that data should be used as a basis to form policies and decisions, which would bring about changes that would make an impact on the people.
The panellists were Tolu Ogunlesi, a former Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital/New Media; Mrs Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, a Social Entrepreneur; and Adesuwa Giwa-Osagie, a lawyer and historian.
Present at the book presentation included the wife of the author, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Representative of Federal Executive Council; Lagos Deputy Gov. Dr Obafemi Hamzat; and Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, former Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Sustainable Development Goals,
Others were a former Commissioner For Justice and Attorney General of Lagos, Moyosore Onigbanjo; a former Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Ibukun Awosika; Traditional rulers, Lagos White cap chiefs, friends and families; among others.