June 11, 2024

Building Collapse: Union demands FG’s action on substandard steel producers

Building Collapse

By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin

In the wake of a recent building collapse that left five construction workers dead at Obingwu in Ukwa West local government area of Abia State, the Iron Rod and Steel Distributors Employers Union of Nigeria (IRSDEUN) has called on the federal government, to crack down on substandard steel producers.

National President of the Union, Chief Gbenga Awoyale in a statement issued to Vanguard Correspondent in Ilorin on Tuesday expressed concern that the unabated proliferation of substandard iron rods and steel products in the market has led to series of tragic incidents, one of which was the recent unfortunate incident witnessed in Abia state, stressing that it’s time for the government to take decisive action to prevent further loss of lives.

According to the statement,“It is disheartening that the Abia state government have now validated our positions that our market is saturated with substandard steel products, with its revelation that the preliminary reports have attributed the building collapse to the possible usage of substandard building materials and poor supervision of work at the site.

“We are tired of seeing innocent people, struggling to make ends meet lose their lives due to the greed and negligence of substandard steel producers. The government must demonstrate true empathy and take concrete steps to address this issue once and for all.”

It could be recalled that the union recently alleged complicity between some officials of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and substandard steel producers, which has undermined the integrity of the industry and compromised the safety of consumers and called for the dissolution of the current management of SON and a thorough investigation into the matter.

The union reemphasized that a particular steel production company, which is one of the biggest in Nigeria owned by foreigners made a former Director General of SON it’s Executive DIrector and consequently, leveraging on his influence to perpetrate substandard production unchecked.

He further said in the statement,“We make bold to say that the government is not taking Nigerians’ lives seriously. We exposed how a steel production factory was caught with substandard products by SON taskforce. Unfortunately, it was still the taskforce Chairman who wasn’t privy to the operation that was defending the suspected company on national dailies, simply because his erstwhile boss at SON heads the company. It is unacceptable!.

“The substandard goods that were supposed to be melted and used to reproduce standard gauge were left to be circulated. Meanwhile, the SON claimed they were undergoing laboratory test but they couldn’t share any result to the public. Where is operational transparency and accountability?”, queried.

“The time for talk is over. “We need governmental actions, and we need it now. The lives of innocent Nigerians depend on it and if it truly matter to our government, the time to act is now. I wept seeing lifeless body of innocent Nigerians brought out of the building. A careful observation of the collapsed building cast shows that it was wires they used in lieu of standard gauge steel. That’s callous!”concluded the statement.