In a startling revelation, Premium Times reports that Sani Magaji Tambuwal, the Clerk of the National Assembly, allegedly misled President Bola Tinubu by sending a false ‘Real Estate Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act 2023’ for approval, falsely claiming it had passed through all legislative stages.
According to Premium Times’ investigation, the bill, originating from the Senate in November 2021, faced controversy, especially with REDAN (Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria) lobbying for its support. The bill aimed to empower REDAN in controlling a proposed regulatory agency.
However, discrepancies emerged during the legislative process. The House of Representatives, on May 31, rejected the clauses of the Senate bill (HB. 1753) and passed a different one, focusing solely on establishing a real estate regulatory agency for Abuja, without granting powers to REDAN.
West Idahosa, a senior lawyer, emphasized the breach of legislative practice, stating, “there were separate versions of similar bills passed by each chamber of the parliament, but none of them was passed by both Houses.”
Despite this, the Clerk of the National Assembly reportedly transmitted the Senate version to President Tinubu on June 9, falsely asserting that both chambers had approved it. Idahosa, in a letter to the Attorney General of the Federation, called for an investigation and possible prosecution, stating, “the Clerk, Mr Tambuwal, wilfully misrepresented the facts.”
Presidential spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale did not respond to comments, but a source at the presidency suggested that thorough scrutiny by legal advisers and the Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, might have prevented the President from signing the bill.
The controversial points in the bill include provisions that would essentially grant REDAN significant control over the Real Estate Regulatory Council of Nigeria. A real estate developer, quoted by Premium Times, expressed concern, likening it to “a group of old generation banks forming an association and then asking the government to empower the association to regulate all other Nigerian banks.”
In response to these allegations, Premium Times reached out to Tambuwal, who initially did not respond but later called for a meeting, which was postponed due to a workers’ strike. Tambuwal’s media handlers promised an official response, which is yet to be received.