By John Iwori
As more buildings continue to collapse across the country, some professionals in the building industry have concluded plans to address the root cause of the problem in the sector.
The professionals, under the aegis of Lagos State Branch of the Association of Building Artisans of Nigeria (ASBAN), said they have what it takes to address the rot in the system.
ASBAN is a conglomeration of registered association of building trades in the country, including bricklayers, block moulders, carpenters, welders, electricians, painters, aluminium fabricators, plumbers and tillers.
National President of ASBAN, Prince Jimmy Osinubi told THISDAY in Lagos that visits by the executive members of the association to sites of collapsed buildings across the state in recent times have revealed the use of substandard products by builders.
His words: “Except for the Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos incident where bomb blast which occurred few years ago at Nigerian Army, Ikeja Cantonment, which might have weakened the structure, visits to other sites coupled with discussions with our members in these areas revealed that labourers and quacks are used as artisans by most builders to maximise profits.
“Further discussions with our members revealed that some builders prefer artisans who are ready to compromise standards. Visit to the site of the latest building collapse at Alausa, Ikeja revealed that artisans used for the project are not ASBAN members”, he said.
According to Osinubi, the association has in the last twelve months embarked on serious retraining programmes of its members across the country. Apart from attending three months part-time programme in polytechnics offering building technology, members across the country have been attending seminars and workshops organised by various non governmental organisations (NGOs) and other international organizations.
In Lagos State, hundreds of the association’s members attended the three months part-time programme at the Lagos State Polytechnic. Apart from free seminars and workshops by NGOs like; Shelter Watch Initiative and Fate Foundation, international organisations like GEMS2 of DfID have constantly been empowering the members.
He stated that the retraining of artisans, proper documentation and proper means of identification on sites have been suggested to the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to end incessant collapse of buildings in the state.
He revealed that at a meeting with the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, it was agreed that ASBAN would provide a database of its members to the ministry with identification cards to be used on sites before the end of the first quarter of this year.
“Apart from issuing identification cards to its over 300,000 members in Lagos state, ASBAN is also planning with the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to commence a 30-minute radio enlightenment programme tagged ‘Build Right’ on radio.
“The people of Lagos State will be enlightened on the need to co-operate with the state government by monitoring structural developments in their areas and reporting same to the relevant authority”, he added.