Former Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has called for the review of tenancy laws in states to compel landlords to collect rents monthly.

The former governor of Lagos State spoke at the launch of his book titled: “Nigerian Public Discourse: The Interplay of Empirical Evidence and Hyperbole,” in Lagos.

He also reflected on the burden of housing surplus in rural areas whereby their owners are confronted with deficits in cities, thereby predisposing them to renting houses.

Fashola said payment of rent for up to three years or more by tenants to landlords should be discouraged, adding that it is overwhelming to tenants.

He pointed out that many houses are unoccupied due to the way rents collection are structured and collected.

Fashola said: “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?”

The former minister and author also described data as the most important currency in the world, which no central bank could print.

In his view, accurate data should be utilised for better planning in the country.

He said: “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.

The book was reviewed by Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, an author and academic.

A panel of experts discussed the importance of data to development at the book launch.

They 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 panelists 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.

At the ceremony were Presidential Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila,  who represented President Bola Tinubu; former All Progressives Congress (APC) Interim National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande,  wife of the author, Mrs Dame Abimbola Fashola, Lagos Deputy Governor,  Obafemi Hamzat; and Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, former Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Sustainable Development Goals, former Deputy Governor Sarah Sosan, former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, former Lagos House of Assembly Speaker Yemi Ikuforiji; former Attorney-General and Commissioners For Justice, Supo Sasore and Moyosore Onigbanjo; a former Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Ibukun Awosika; traditional rulers, politicians, and students.

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