By Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The House of Representatives has directed the Ministry of Works and Housing to implement the National Building Code in order to regulate construction as part of efforts to curb the rising incidences of building collapse in the country.
The House also directed the ministry to liaise with the Building Collapse Prevention Guild to carry out assessment of buildings prone to collapse in order to alert residents and avert impending loss of lives and properties.
The directive by the House was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Wale Raji at the plenary Thursday.
He said that the incidences of building collapse across the country have reached alarming proportion, with no less than 60 cases within the last four years, according to a report by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, resulting in tragic loss of lives and destruction of property.
The lawmaker observed that the frequent cases of building collapse could be attributed to negligence on the part of contractors, client and professionals, faulty designs, lack of professional supervision and adherence to the building code, lack of effectiveness of government agencies responsible for monitoring building procurement and construction processes, quackery at pre and post contract stages and the use of substandard materials, among others.
Raji recalled the collapse of a two-storey building in Surulere, Lagos State on October 25, 2019 in which five persons were rescued and an earlier incident in Magodo area of Lagos State on October 12, 2019, which claimed the lives of a mother and her three children, leaving at least six others injured.
He equally recalled the collapse of a three-storey building that was housing a primary school in Ita Faji area of Lagos Island on March 13, 2019, causing the death of 16 persons; and on November 23 2018, a seven-storey building under construction collapsed in Port Harcourt causing the death of 13 persons.
He said that on December 10, 2016, the roof of Reigners Bible Church International, Uyo caved in during a service, killing about 200 persons and on September 12, 2014, a six-storey building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed, killing 116 persons.
The lawmaker also expressed worry about the report of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, an umbrella body of all construction professionals in the country, that there are thousands of other buildings across the country waiting to collapse due to mass urbanisation and lack of targeted intervention by governments at all levels.
Raji stressed the urgent need to address the menace of building collapse and sub-standard construction prevalent in the country to avert losses both in human lives and properties occasioned by the avoidable malaise.
The House therefore urged the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and other professional bodies to investigate and penalize their members involved in cases of building collapse.
The House “urge the Ministry of Works and Housing to implement the National Building Code in order to regulate construction in the country and safeguard lives and properties of citizens.
“Also urge the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to sanitize the building materials sector to get rid of sub-standard goods in the markets.
“Call on the Ministry of Work and Housing to liaise with the Building Collapse Prevention Guild to carry out assessment of buildings prone to collapse in order to alert residents and avert impending loss of lives and properties”.
The House further urged the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) and the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) to ensure proper supervision of workmen and to further carry out sensitisation campaigns to enlighten the public on the need to use quality materials and professionals in the construction of buildings.
The House mandated its Committees on Works and Housing and Habitat to ensure implementation.