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Lagos, experts advocate vertical cities as panacea to housing challenge

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
04 July 2022   |   4:03 am
Renowned experts in public policy and leading industry players in the built sector have affirmed that ‘building up’ is the solution to tackle scarcity and high cost of accommodation in urban centres in the country.

Commercial Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Gbenga Onimowo(left); Director, Organisation & Human Resources, Lafarge Africa Plc,Gbemiga Owolabi; SA to the Governor of Lagos State on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye; Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat; Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc., Mr. Khaled El Dokani; Head, Mortar, Innovation & New Product Development, Lafarge Africa Plc, Femi Yusuff and MD/CEO, Urban Shelter Limited, Mrs. Saadiya Aliyu at the 5th Lafarge Africa Concrete Ideas held in Lagos.

Renowned experts in public policy and leading industry players in the built sector have affirmed that ‘building up’ is the solution to tackle scarcity and high cost of accommodation in urban centres in the country.

The experts made this assertion at the fifth edition of Lafarge Africa’s public policy thought-leadership series, Concrete Ideas, held in Lagos, which was attended by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

While decrying the acute scarcity and high cost of buildable land in major urban areas, they highlighted the challenges affecting the optimal use of high-rise buildings and also shared insights on how this could be the solution to the problem of scarcity and high cost of accommodation in urban centres.

The experts agreed to harness advantages that high-rise buildings offer, the government and all the stakeholders in the built environment must take bolder steps to combat many problems militating against mass development and the optimal use of high-rise buildings in the country.

This, they believe will go a long way in providing answers to the problem of inadequate housing in the urban centres in the country, particularly in Lagos and Abuja, where there is limited availability of buildable land and accommodation.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, said his administration is determined to sustainably address the issue of building collapse; safeguard lives of the people, as well as prevent economic and financial loss.

He noted that building collapse arises from lack of adherence to standards and quality in building and construction, maintaining that his administration will confront the menace until a greater, smarter and more sustainable model is achieved in the sector.

Speaking further, Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that his government has been more intentional and vocal in sensitising prospective builders on the importance of seeking the input of professionals in Engineering, Building, Planning and Architecture before embarking on building structures.

He said: “As a proactive government, we are ever open to ideas and initiatives that are targeted at improving the living standards of Lagosian .”

While stressing the need for government-construction industry collaboration to successfully curb the menace of building collapse, Sanwo-Olu called on construction materials manufacturers to comply with standards and quality.

Also, speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Ogun State, Ade Akinsanya, commended the company for the initiative. He also expressed the willingness of state government to work with all relevant professionals to improve the built and construction industry.

Earlier, the Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Khaled El Dokani, applauded the governor for infrastructural development witnessed since he assumed office. This, he said has no doubt continued to foster economic development and stimulate prosperity in the state.

He said: “We believe there is still more that can be done and I am optimistic that suggestions and recommendations from the programme would be found useful by your government in further enriching policies and regulatory capacity, as well as effectiveness and efficiency in the sector.”

El Dokani noted that the development of high-rise building is a current trend in modern cities all over the world, mainly to overcome the challenges of urban overpopulation and for the optimal use of scarce land resources.

He stated that the slow growth of the concept of vertical cities compared to the dashing growth of the country’s population would continue to heighten challenge of housing in Nigeria’s urban cities.