. . Faults Investigative Panel Set-Up Govt
By Pascal Chibueze
Following the incessant building collapse in Anambra State, the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Anambra State Chapter, has called on Governor Willie Obiano to implement the White Paper submitted to it by the Institute in 2014.
Addressing newsmen in Awka the state chairman of the Institute, Arc. Osita Okafor, recalled that the government set up a 10-man panel of inquiry into the collapsed building at Onitsha, saying that they were taking aback by the inauguration of the panel without implementation of the recommendations of former panels set up by the same government, on June 9, 2014.
‘We wish to use this opportunity to draw government’s attention to the implementation of an already published White Paper report on building collapse published in October 13, 2014.
Arc. Okafor said the White Paper stressed the need to establish a one-stop approval process, noting that by so doing all relevant professionals in the building industry would vet-drawings /documents submitted for approval.
‘The built environment is regulated which we all know has defined roles for the various professions. It is, therefore, unconventional and unacceptable that non architects now assume the role of architects. For instance, the ongoing International Conference Centre at Agu-Awka where a non-architects is a lead consultant.
‘Another example is the issue of preparing and signing of architects’ payment certificate by non-architects in the Ministry of Housing, Awka. These anomalies do not happen anywhere in the world,’ he said.
Okafor frowned at the non-inclusion of architects in the panel to investigate and deal with what he described as a matter as grievous as building collapse, saying that the architects were the prime consultants in building projects all over the world.
‘What result are they going to get? What are they going to show the public? Therefore, we feel, that Anambra State, being a state that prides itself as the Light of the Nation, should be able to show example of world’s best practices.
‘We appeal to His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, being one of the professional minded governors, to take a dispassionate look and correct all the issues raised above,’ Architect Okafor concluded.
It will be recalled that Governor Willie Obiano had on June 3, 2019, inaugurated a panel of Inquiry on the collapsed building at No. 38 Ogalaonye Street, Onitsha.
The inauguration took place during the State Executive Council Meeting at the Government House, Awka.
The panel had the Traditional Ruler of Uke, Igwe Charles Agbala, as its Chairman and Comrade Nwabufo Nwankwo as its Secretary.
The Panel had one month to submit their report to the State government.