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Fraudulent businessmen aiding building collapse in Nigeria – FG

By Idowu Isamotu, Abuja

Few days after another building collapse happened in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, following the same ugly occurrence in Ita-Faji, Lagos State, the committee charged to find root cause of the various incidents has said some fraudulent businessmen are aiding such sad trends.

The Acting Director-General of Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Prof. Samson Duna who chaired the committee disclosed this in Abuja on Friday while presenting report of his committee to the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu.

Duna, who was apparently referring to some businessmen that are into Real Estate Management and Valuers, alleged that they do connive with town planning authorities, developers, architects and contractors to flout some laid down laws and standards with a view to making cheap money from sub-standard structures.

He demanded heavy sanctions on staff of town planning authorities, developers, architects as well as contractors illegally conniving with the said businessmen.

“Appropriate sanctions should be imposed by Government on Professionals through their Professionals bodies who refuse to abide by their codes of conduct; developers who refuse to abide by Town Planning regulations, by-laws and standards; and staff of Town Planning Authorities as well as contractors whose fraudulent or compromising attitude led to the collapse of a building.

“The businessmen are perpetrating evils by conniving with the professionals in the building industry in order to make cheap money from sub-standard structures,” he said.

It would be recalled that a three-storey building believed to be housing a private school at 36 Massey Street in Lagos Island Local Government Area collapsed in March 14, where a lot of persons, including many pupils whose school is believed to be on the third floor of the building were trapped.

The Federal Government through its Science and Technology ministry had, however, on March 26 set up a technical committee to probe the cause of various incidents and make recommendations to avert future occurrence.

Speaking further, NBRRI boss lamented frequent re-occurrence of building collapse in the country, saying it has become a worrisome issue and menace, causing national embarrassment, claiming lives, destroying valuables properties and huge investments.

According to him, this ugly incidence, has rendered many families homeless, injured many individuals and caused psychological trauma to the affected families members, friends, neighbours and other stakeholders, adding that it is of deep concern to Government at all levels.

The Committee, among other recommendations calls for the establishment a functional Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal that is fully empowered to deal with all forms of violation in our Building Environment in every state in Nigeria.

The committee also recommended that an Executive Bill on National Building Code should as matter of urgency be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage into law in order to regulate the conduct and operation of professionals and stakeholders in the construction industry.

The National Building Code, according to the recommendation in the report, will drastically reduce the invasion of building industry by quacks and non –building  professionals which contribute to majority of the recorded building collapses in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the minister, while commending the committee, said it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that human lives are secured, adding that the anguish and sorrow experienced by Nigerians due to building collapse should not be allowed to continue.

Onu assured Nigerians that the recommendations of the committee will be faithfully utilized by the government, saying recurring problem of building collapse would be nipped in the bud.

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