Vows to punish culprits FG inaugurates inter-ministerial committee to tackle menace
Omololu Ogunmade and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja lamented cases of incessant building collapse in Lagos and other parts of the country, blaming the trend on incompetence, greed and professional negligence, and vowed to make culprits face the wrath of the law.
Buhari, who issued the threat when the leadership of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) led by its President, Mr. Obafemi Onashile, paid him a courtesy visit in the State House, warned against losing innocent little children to building collapse as a result of greed and incompetence of some unpatriotic citizens.
A statement by the president’s media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari told members of the institute that the recent tragic incident in Lagos and many others across the country, were reminders of the need to strictly adhere to quality standards on construction projects.
‘‘Young innocent lives must never be lost due to incompetence and greed. Simply put, no corners must be cut. I want to assure you that those responsible for such incidents of professional negligence will feel the full wrath of the law,’’ he said.
According to Adesina, the president welcomed recommendations and suggestions from the institute on how to enhance the construction industry and advised them to make a formal submission to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing as soon as possible.
He also said Buhari told his guests that dark days of impunity were gone for good, assuring Nigerians that his administration would remain focused and committed to creating an inclusive and diversified economy.
‘‘Let me start by thanking you for your kind prayers,’’ the President told members of the Institute, who came to congratulate him on his re-election and pledge their solidarity with his administration.
‘‘Nigerians have clearly spoken of their desire for the country to move forward. On our part, we remain committed to the Change Agenda. By the grace of God, and with your continued prayers and support, the dark days of impunity are gone for good,’’ he added.
According to the statement, the President of NIQS, Onashile, in his presentation, appealed to the federal government to create a Directorate of Quantity Surveying and Projects Costs Management to address the issue of unclear delineation of professional functions amongst construction professions within the government.
It also said Onashile also made a case for quantity surveyors to be mandated and allowed to undertake cost management of projects of all forms on behalf of government, among others.
It added: “The Institute while congratulating the President on his well-deserved re-election, expressed its support and ‘total confidence in his administration and leadership direction which have brought hope, progress and stability to Nigeria.’
“A highpoint of the visit was the conferment of the Fellowship Grade of the NIQS-the highest cadre of membership- on President Buhari. The President was also honoured with the ‘Life Champion of Anti-Corruption Crusade in Nigeria Award.’”
Meanwhile, following the recent spate of building collapse in some parts of the country, the federal government has inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee as part of its commitment to find a permanent solution to the menace.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, while inaugurating the committee yesterday in Abuja, said the administration of President Buhari is determined to do everything humanly possible to stop building collapse because of its toll on human life.
In a statement yesterday by the Assistant Chief Information Officer, Mr. Edet Etuk, the minister stressed that the federal government was taking necessary steps to find permanent solution to the recurring disaster.
According to him, “It is important that every building collapse should be investigated to secure human life and protect our environment. The committee should put the interest of the country first in its assignment.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of the committee and the acting Director-General/CEO of NBRRI, Prof. Samson Duna, said the impact of collapsed building affected the entire human fabrics, causing psychological trauma, loss of lives and property, loss of government revenue, with victims being rendered homeless apart from suffering permanent disabilities
He said: “Most of the building collapse has been linked to man-made mistakes which could be avoided and eradicated completely. There is urgent need to stop this
ugly trend by investigating the root causes of the problems and make appropriate reco-mmendation.”
The committee which was given two weeks to submit its report promised to get to the root causes of the problems and proffer practical and implementable solutions that would go a long way to forestall future occurrence.
Members of the committee include representatives of all regulatory agencies in the management of construction industries are in the committee.