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APWBN urged to embrace technology as Said becomes chairperson

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Piqued by the low contribution of the construction sector to the national Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), industry experts have urged women professionals to embrace digital technology in their practice.

They made the call at the investiture of Mrs. Sikirat Said, as the Chairperson, Association of Professional Women Builders of Nigeria (APWBN) in Lagos.

Leading the call was the first female professor in construction management from University of Cape, South Africa and in Nigeria, Prof. Abimbola Windapo. She said the advent of digital technology and other disruptions like coronavirus have made the adoption of digital technology necessary in the sector.

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Prof. Windapo, who spoke virtually from South African on the theme: “Construction Industry Transformation and Digital Divide – Bridging the ICT Gap”, said women as equal participants in the construction industry must embrace digital technology, which will make construction less tedious and transforming in Nigeria.

In his speech, President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Kunle Awobodu, said the construction industry needs transformation and is at the threshold of a major disruption to ensure betterment of the sector.

He , however, warned that the disruption would come with challenges as the traditional ways of doing things would be challenged.

Awobodu stressed that the choice of the topic gives assurance that women builders are bracing up for challenges associated with digital construction.

Awobodu called on the Lagos State Government to provide a research centre for builders to train female artisans in the state.

Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Abubakar, who was represented by the Federal Controller of Environment in Lagos State, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Agbenla, said the ministry is willing to partner with professionals that know their onus irrespective of gender and creed.

He urged women builders to rise up to the challenge posed by low production in the construction sector.

The special guest of honour and wife of the Lagos state governor, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, affirmed the contribution of women builders in national development and pledged her support towards achieving the objectives of the association to curb building failures as well as save lives as result of inefficient construction process.

She stressed that the establishment of a research development institute will position women builders to be a force to reckon with in Nigeria.

The immediate past president of the body, Mrs. Lami Mohammed, expressed confidence that the new executive will continue with the objective of the association.

She urged the new executive to ensure that the plot of land allocated to the association is developed.

Expressing her gratitude for the honour, Mrs. Said, said the theme was carefully chosen to highlight the need to bridge the gap in the technological world.

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She said the association would play its role in the building construction in accordance with the mission and objectives of the institute, which will enable members deliver, with relevant stakeholders, sustainable shelter that addresses the housing needs of the nation through research, development and global best practices .

According to her, the association promotes, preserves and protects the interest of women in building profession as well as strengthens their voice for continuous advocacy in industry.

She pledged that the association during her tenure will be a driving force for encouraging girls to study and practice building technology.

She lamented that many students cannot distinguish between building technology and engineering.

Career talks, she said, will be targeted at age groups and catchment areas with greater emphasis on local authorities and public school.

Other programmes, that will be handled during her tenure include, mentorship for young builders and publication of a quarterly newsletter to ensure personal communication with members.

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