By Stanley Onyekwere
In order to mitigate the menace of building collapse in Abuja and other Nigerian cities, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has charged members of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIB) to be firmer and more professional when enforcing building rules even at the loss of personal income.
This, according to the Minister, who addressed over 200 NIB members, will further garner for the builders more credibility and acceptability, thereby increasing patronage and outlook of the built environment.
Bello, who made this assertion when a delegation of the when a delegation of the led by its 3rd National Vice President, Builder Bimbo Kolade, paid a courtesy visit to the FCT Administration, however commended its members of on their contribution to the development of the FCT.
The Minister specifically charged builders to consider other factors than maximising returns on investment when building structures, as it was imperative that the comfort and wellbeing of residents are taken into consideration when building.
“As an institution, your code of conduct should make your members decide if a building shouldn’t be built based on faulty design or faulty material or faulty location.
“Let your members say they are not going to participate. I think if you are able to do that, you will reach a certain level whereby people will have no option but to believe in you.
“I have seen quite a number of buildings here approved by the relevant FCTA agencies and I always ask them, these massive buildings with so many shops, how are the people going to park their vehicles? In the event of crisis, how can people be evacuated? So, I think we should go beyond just trying to get the maximum utilization of a square meter,” he stressed.
While noting that when the history of the FCT will be written the chapter devoted to the builders will be fairly long, the Minister said: “If you look at the quantum of buildings, both public and private, within the FCT, in terms of the period within which they were put up, I think no city in Nigeria will match what has been put here and all that has been done with great collaboration by members of the Building Institute and that’s why your institute is very important in the socio-economic development of this great country.”
Stressing that certain factors such as facilities for physically challenged people, security and fire-fighting are being taken into consideration in the construction of public buildings in the FCT today, the Minister charged the builders to also insist on the inclusion of these factors when constructing buildings.
He therefore commended the Institute for the survey of abandoned buildings it carried out on behalf of the FCTA saying that integrity tests have commenced on these buildings and those that fail the tests will be demolished, and adds that “All what we’ve been doing have been guided by your report” the Minister said.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Builder Bimbo Kolade had implored the Honourable Minister to explore recommendations made by the institution in the report on building collapse in the FCT.
He commended Malam Bello for the support enjoyed by the institute since his appointment as Minister.
Kolade who explained that the Institute had set aside March 13 as Builders Day in commemoration of the collapse building incidence which occurred in Lagos in 2019, resulting in the death of 13 underaged children, said the day was being celebrated to raise consciousness on the consequences of neglect of work ethics.