NIOB seeks prosecution of culprits in Owerri building collapse
To deter re-occurrence, the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), has urged Imo State authorities to carry thorough investigation and early prosecution of all culprits in the recent collapse of a seven-storey building in Owerri, the Imo State Capital.
President of the institute, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, made the call in Lagos at the weekend while reacting to the unfortunate incident. He lamented that the collapse has again brought to the front burner the problem of building production management in Nigeria.
The seven-storey building had collapsed along Musa Yar’ Adua Drive, New Owerri on April 30, 2020. He stated that the incident has again reinforced the need to sensitise developers and the public on engaging professional builders in order to prevent building collapse.
“Those who caused the wanton destruction of property and loss of lives should be prosecuted in order to deter quackery and negligence on building sites in Nigeria. Justice delayed is justice denied. While our sympathies and condolences go to those who lost their loved ones in the tragedy, the institute solicits further cooperation and collaboration amongst built environment professional bodies and other relevant government agencies or organisations to bring to an end this menace of building collapse”, he said.
Awobodu, noted that investigations conducted on many collapsed buildings in Nigeria revealed that inappropriate management of building production on-site has been the major cause while quacks or impostors, who lacked professional competence, have usually succeeded in superintending over the very technical and complex process of building production.
He said,“ At a rally on that Builders’ Day, the General Manager of Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA), Mr Innocent Ikpamezie, who is an engineer, addressed NIOB members, promising to prevent reoccurrence of building collapse in Imo State by ensuring prospective developers engage professional builders to manage building production process on their sites.
NIOB noted that the collapse is a clarion call to all ministries charged with Physical Planning and Urban Development in Nigeria to extend their strict assessment and vetting of building projects beyond building plan approval. “Building plans and design documents are, to all intents and purposes, just in the design and preconstruction stage of building projects.”
Mr. Awobodu advised that ministries and agencies responsible for physical planning and urban development should devote greater attention to the practical stage, which is the actual building construction stressing that any company or those that will handle construction of a building should be thoroughly investigated to ensure that round pegs are inserted in round holes.
He said: “It is unfortunate that people who do not have requisite ability to carry out a task and ignore the inherent risk for the tempting, anticipated monetary gains, thereby endangering lives and property. The delicate process of transforming the architectural, structural and services designs and drawings to satisfactory building products requires expertise that professional builders possess.
To curb the incessant collapse of buildings, he advanced that building control agencies across the nation should ensure that the registered builder that could be held accountable for quality production is on-site.
Awobodu said building students that have been trained in the institutions of higher learning, graduated to pass through rigorous professional development in NIOB, and licensed by CORBON should be engaged to manage building production on sites in to reduce the frequency of building collapse in Nigeria.
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