. . . Govt Holds Colloquium on Tackling Menace
. . . Urged to Establish Building Quality Control Agency
By Michael Jude Nwolisa
The incidence of building collapse in Anambra State may soon be consigned to the dust bin of history; but that is if the Anambra State Government implements the suggestions of experts in tackling the menace, reports Michael Jude Nwolisa.
The message of hope against the monstrous phenomenon was given at a colloquium organized by the Anmabra State Government through the office of the Special Assistant on Housing to the state governor. The colloquium was aimed at discussing the causes and probable panacea for the increasing rate of building collapse in the state.
The well-attended event, which brought together many professionals in the building sector, such as civil and structural engineers; town planners, architects and other professional bodies, was organized by the Special Adviser, Housing, to the Anambra State Governor, Engr. Simeon Okafor, in collaboration with The Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, Anambra State Chapter, December 20, 2018.
In his address of welcome, Engr. Okafor decried the rate of building collapse in Anambra, saying that the colloquium was intended to ex-ray the causes of building collapse in the state and society at large, even as he hoped that through the event, reliable and immediate solutions would be proffered to reduce the malaise to the barest minimum.
Speaking during the event, the chairman of the occasion and managing director of Vivid Construction Company Ltd, Sir Tony Akpulu, advised fellow professionals in the building industry to always embrace their professional ethics. He expressed joy at the holding of the event and hoped the colloquium would stir up ideas which would help the state and society at large to curtail the menace of building collapse in society.
Presenting a paper titled “Building and Infrastructures Collapse In Anambra state – The Way Forward”, a Senior lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Engr. Dr. Celestine Ezeagu, predicted that more buildings would collapse in Anambra State, unless an urgent action was taken to forestall such occurrences.
He listed the major causes of building collapse to include poor design, poor workmanship, quackery, substandard construction materials, among others.
Engr. Ezeagu therefore called for the establishment of Anambra State Building Control Agency to oversee the investigation and certification of human and material factors at play in every building project in the state.
For his part, the former chairman of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Anambra State Chapter, and State Director, National Population Commission, Anambra State, TPL Ulasi Okwuchukwu Joachin, described the rising incidence of building collapse as a source of concern for both government and stakeholders in Anambra State and Nigeria at large.
Delivering a lecture titled, “Dealing With The Challenge of Building Collapse: The Town Planning Perspective”, Ulasi maintained that quackery, poor quality materials and inadequate monitoring of building construction sites by government agencies, were the main causes of building collapse in the state.
He reiterated the establishment of Anambra State Building Control Agency as a possible solution to the problem of building collapse in the state.
Speaker after speaker expressed concern over the rising incidence of building collapse in the state, while giving recommendations both to the government and the public on how to eliminate the trend.
At the end, a communiqué was issued to address the problems associated with building collapse.
In an interview with Fides, the SA, Housing to the Anambra State Governor, Engr. Simeon Okafor, expressed his delight at the outcome of the event, noting that it was a major step in achieving a collapse free environment in the building sector. He noted that the campaign against Building Collapse in Anambra had been on-going for years, with similar events being organized in the past at different grassroots levels.
Engr. Okafor also called on the government to establish the Building Quality Control Agency which would oversee the building process and quality of infrastructure in the state, while working in concert with the Anambra State Physical Planning Board.
He lauded the Gov. Willie Obiano Administration for employing more professionals in the building sector, which, he hoped, would reduce quackery in the industry.
Speaking from his wealth of experience in the industry, Engr. Okafor advised fellow professionals in the industry to maintain integrity and show zero tolerance for corruption.
'I have been in this profession for over 30 years and I want to advise my fellow professionals, especially the younger ones, that good name they say is better than money. Shun corruption and display a professional mindset in discharging your duties to avoid mistakes that will endanger peoples' lives,' he concluded.
Apart from the call for the establishment of State Building Quality Control Agency contained in their resolution at the end of colloquium, they also called on the state government to, as a matter of equity and justice, ensure that the proposed Building Quality Control Agency be domiciled in the State Ministry of Housing, while the Anambra State Physical Planning Board continued to be in the Ministry of Lands.