By Udora Orizu
The House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday resolved to investigate the importation and manufacturing of substandard steel in Nigeria.
It mandated its Committee on Steel to investigate the alleged smuggling, importation and use of substandard steel and operations of locally fabricated steel companies in Nigeria, and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
The resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the ‘Need to investigate the importation and manufacturing of substandard steel in Nigeria’, which was sponsored by Hon Babajide Obanikoro.
Moving the motion, Obanikoro said the House is aware that one of the main reasons for building collapses in Nigeria is the use of sub-standard building materials such as steel among others.
He expressed concern over media reports of April 30 and May 1, 2020, on the collapse of an eight-storey building under construction in Owerri, Imo State, which led to the death of two people, while eight others were rescued and rushed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owerri.
He noted that the rescue operators later pulled out five more dead bodies from the debris of the building while the eight people taken to the hospital were later confirmed dead, bringing the total casualty figure to 15.
The lawmaker further expressed concern by the report of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria that over N500 billion has been lost due to building collapse and that about 175 buildings collapsed in Nigeria between 1971 and 2016 with 1,455 lives lost while the federal government loses over N1 billion weekly to smuggling of substandard steel products into Nigeria.
Obanikoro added that the history of building collapses in Nigeria is alarming and a serious cause for concern that calls for a more robust approach to checkmate the manufacturing and importation of substandard steel.