By Mariam Eko
LAGOS — A coalition of civil society groups and professional bodies in the construction industry will soon launch a major campaign for the standardisation of cement production and importation.
The coalition will also call on the relevant authorities to initiate actions to make 42.5 grade of cement the standard product in the country.
They believe that nearly all the cement manufacturers and importers in the country were in the habit of taking advantage of the lax regulation and lack of enforcement to vary their pigmentation in favour of the lower quality cement (32.5) which is normally used in building works.
Apart from this, the groups believe that the use of low quality cement was partly responsible for incessant building collapse across the country, even as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, looked the other way.
The coalition further plans to take its campaign to the National Assembly with a plea that the lawmakers probe manufacturers and importers of cement for compromising standards in the building and construction sub-sector.
It was learnt that the agitators would enlist the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, to prompt SON to be alive to its responsibilities by ensuring the sale and manufacture of high grade cement for the Nigerian market, by punishing offenders.
They will also call for the enforcement of the National Building Code in addressing the lax control by regulatory authorities.
Among other agencies to be reached out to by the concerned civil society groups include the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria, COREN.
COREN would be expected to lend its voice to this unwholesome practice of cement manufacturers which, according of them, was endangering the lives of the people.
According to the group, “in the advanced countries, there is migration from the lower grade of cement or 32.5 to the higher level 42.5 specification and even 52.5 with a uniform standard set by government.
“Manufacturers and importers can be held accountable whenever there is infraction or reduction in agreed specification.”