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Quacks in building sector turn gains to pains, says Awobodu

By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Victor Gbonegun (Lagos)
30 August 2021   |   3:01 am
The president of, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) Mr. Kunle Awobodu said the outcome of many investigations of collapsed buildings has revealed that quackery in construction

The paramount ruler of Odo Ayandelu, Oba Asunmo Aderibigbe (left); first vice president, Nigerian Institute of Building, Prof. Yohana lzam; former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana; Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs. Aramide Adeoye; President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Kunle Awobodu and the Speaker, Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Mr. Francis Nwifuru during the 51st annual conference of the Nigerian Institute of Building in Lagos.<br />

The president of, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) Mr. Kunle Awobodu said the outcome of many investigations of collapsed buildings has revealed that quackery in construction was responsible for most of the cases.

The institute also emphasised that the activities of non-professionals have turned gains to pains in many homes, adding that lack of accountability and prosecution has been the challenge to prevention of building collapse.

He disclosed that from 1974 to July 2021 a total of 461 buildings have collapsed with about 1,090 deaths and an uncountable number of injured were recorded. This, he said, shows that the building industry is one of the most sensitive and delicate professions that should be guarded against quackery.

The conference attracted the paramount ruler Onisaba of Igbobi-Sabe & Yaba kingdom, Oba Owolabi Adeniyi, Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, the chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Prof. Kabir Bala, the Corp Marshal of Federal Road Safety Commission, Boboye Oyeyemi, general manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency, Gbolahan Oki, the Lagos State commissioner for physical planning and urban development, Dr. Idris Salako, and others.

He said: “Until quacks involved in collapsed building cases are brought to book to serve as deterrence, building construction work will remain an attractive business for charlatans, but a dangerous phenomenon for the Nigerian nation.

Awobodu said the institute focuses on the theme of the conference to refresh and upgrade knowledge of builders on the latest building construction technology and maintain a high level of competence. He added that quality; sustainable building products and production should reside within professionals without obstacles.

In an address to the forum, the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the theme was germane to the state in attaining and sustaining its technology-driven smart city and would enhance the plans of the government in improving the lives and welfare of citizens.

Represented by the Special Adviser on infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, he said “Structures can be built most efficiently and cost-effectively when a builder is brought early into the planning process. The quality of structures will impact the lives of people, economically, socially, and mentally. It is pertinent to say those opportunities for exposure will be provided for builders to acquire more knowledge to develop global best practices.”

He said the government is determined to continue to provide the enabling environment that will allow professionalism to thrive.

“We will continue to ensure laws, regulations and policies guarding the building industry are met and are attainable. I charge you all to work with other professionals in this industry to find a lasting solution to the Building collapse and upgrade your expertise.”

The governor appreciated the national council of Nigeria Institute of Building constituted of the National Executive Body and chairmen of the 36 State Chapters of the Institute with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the rare conferment of the Honorary Fellow of the Institute on him.

The conferment, he said will continue to be a symbol of encouragement to the state for the standard obtained in building construction and safety in Lagos State.

MEANWHILE, the Enugu State government through the Nigeria Building and Roads Research Institute (NBRR), has commenced investigation into a collapsed three-storey building located at Nweke Okuzu street, Ugbene II in Enugu east local government area.

This is coming on the heels of the directive of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, that henceforth any building that has been left uncompleted for five years would undergo an integrity test.

The Chairman of ECTDA, Dr. Josef Onoh who disclosed this said any uncompleted building fails the integrity test, it will be demolished and appropriate sanction placed to forestall further occurrence.

The NBRRI investigating team led by Gerald Chukwuma, an engineer, said the agency was alerted about the collapsed building; hence officials were dispatched from Abuja to take samples of the debris for tests and to establish the cause of the collapse.

According to Chukwuma, the agency would need to carry out scientific research on the samples, after which it would determine the probable cause of the collapse, noting, however, that from onsite and physical investigations, they saw that some of the concrete were poor, same as reinforcement bars that they suspected were inappropriate, as well as poor supervision.