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Nigerian Senate moves to check cases of building collapse

The Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, called for adherence to professional ethics to check building collapse in the country.

President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki made the call at a Public Hearing, organised by the Senate Committee on Land, Housing and Urban Development, on the need to prosecute building laws violators.

Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, said the principal causes of building collapse in Nigeria included, non-compliance with building laws, use of unskilled artisans, poor supervision, inferior materials, lack of maintenance and corruption.

“Our people have in recent time endured unacceptable incidences of building collapse, which has sadly claimed lives of our citizens.

“Many cases of building collapse have been recorded, many lives lost; yet, very few people are held responsible,” he said.

According to Saraki, lack of enforcement of our building laws and deliberate violations is directly connected to the increase cases of building collapses.

“Other challenges include, absence of planning of towns, cities, dearth of reference designs standards for professionals, use of non professionals and quacks and lack of maintenance culture”, he added.

He said that at the time when needs for housing were on the increase, there was need to maintain a modernised, efficient and user friendly statutory building control regime, to meet the housing development needs of Nigerians.

Saraki, therefore, called for enough political will, to allow town planning authorities perform their functions, unfettered.

He said, “building construction is a delicate, sophisticated and complex process, where failures to adhere strictly to laid down procedures can only amount to unavoidable huge damage and loss of life.”

The Senate President urged the stakeholders to acquire adequate training, knowledge and techniques, to understand the techniques so as to reduce and subsequently eliminate housing disasters.

He stressed that as legislators, they would ensure speedy passage of the National Building Laws and make certain that necessary legal frameworks were passed.

In his remark, Sen. Barnabas Gemade, Chairman Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, said that buildings once properly constructed, were expected to be used for a long time.

According to him, “the very recent incessant building collapses in various parts of the country has being giving the various arms of government and Nigerians sleepless nights.

“This is because, during such incidences, huge investments in housing are not only destroyed but innocent lives are also lost.”

He said that despite calls by Nigerians for safety in buildings and constructions, there seemed to be no end to the lack of sanctions and punishment to those responsible for those incidences.

“As elected representatives of the people, we cannot watch the lives of innocent Nigerians being endangered as a result of recklessness,” Gemade stressed.

Also speaking, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola said building collapse was caused by faulty and inadequate designs among others.

Represented by Director, Public Buildings and Housing Development in the Ministry, Architect Sani Gidado, the Minister recommended that building control departments must be staffed by competent and relevant professionals.

“Other recommendations include: need for National Assembly to urgently enact the enforcement of the provision of the building court in the FCT”, he recommended.

Meanwhile, the President of Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, Umaru Aliyu, has lamented that the council was not reflected in the budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

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