By Gabriel Olawale
…Call for stringent measure against defaulters
To stem the rising incidents of building collapse across the country, the Nigerian Institute of Architects NIA, has advocated stringent action against quacks who engage in building construction without pre-requisite knowledge and certification.
NIA President, Festus Njoku, who spoke at the 58th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the professional body in Lagos last last, said that engaging quacks to help in building project comes with its own implication which includes loss of lives as a result of building collapse.
“It’s very unfortunate that our society does not understand the importance of professionals. Most of the building collapses across the country were as a result of involving somebody who is not a professional to take up the job meant for professionals.
“When some people have jobs, they will engage someone who just finished his National Youth Service that doesn’t know the rudiment of the profession because they don’t want to pay professional fee. When such buildings collapse, they generalize the blame.
“At every construction site, the best thing to do is to put in place project sign board which will state all the professionals listed in the project. During our evaluation and monitoring, we try to cross check all this things but many people don’t do it”, NIA boss noted
Njoku pointed out that unless there are laws that sanction both the person that engages a quack and the quack, Nigeria will continue to lose its citizens as a result of building collapse. “There is need for law that will sentence to jail professionals whose negligence results to building collapse. This will make people to seat tight”, he added.
Speaking on the theme for the conference, “Architecture and National Regeneration”,1st Vice President of NIA, and Chairman Organising Committee, Sunny Echono, said that the facets of regeneration could also take the angle of urban renewal and regeneration propositions towards solving or alleviating social and economic problems.
“This would largely involve the search for and creation of solutions for these challenges which usually take the form of public policy making in order to regulate urban processes in an attempt also to improve our urban environment.
“Ultimately, regeneration is to improve the lives of the people vis-a-vis creating environments that enhance people’s health and well-being, hence this raises the question of what our responsibilities are in this regard?
On his part, Chairman of NIA Lagos Chapter, Fitzgerald Umah, said that if Nigeria does not regenerate, it may land in huge problem.
“It is also good to know that we have not done about 30 percent of development we need in Nigeria. Nigeria is the destination of the world in terms of buildings. If you go to Europe and America, they are almost all built. The next world for development is Africa, and Nigeria inhabits over 180 million people which makes it the next target.
“Regeneration actually refers to our environment, making it look to attractive and healthy. For instance, the real estate developments going on around lekki corridor are really not what we are supposed to be doing. When you talk about regeneration, we need to talk about sustainability, reducing carbon monoxide, reducing numbers of vehicles on the road and looking at some areas in terms of good landscape.
“We also need to look at how it will benefit us. Today we are talking about entrepreneurship, when you talk about regeneration, it can create lot of jobs, and when we regenerate we will be creating more opportunities in terms of economy”, Umah stated.