By Daniel Tyokua
The Federal Government has called on professional builders to always adhere to guidelines during construction across the country.
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola gave the charge when he hosted members of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) who paid him a courtesy visit.
He said builders should intervene at the time of construction of any building as a proactive step to stem the incidence of building collapse and consequent loss of life and property.
Fashola who acknowledged the sad incident which occurred on Sunday in Lagos, expressed deep sorrow at the unfortunate incident describing it as a tragedy which, according to him, had caused a painful separation of the dead victims from their loved ones.
He explained that the incident was avoidable, the Minister declared, “I join many Nigerians and non-Nigerians in expressing my very deep condolences to those who lost loved ones and also those who suffered varying degrees of injuries and also lost properties; our very deep and sincere sympathy go to the governor and the government and people of Lagos State.”
“Our thoughts, our prayers and sympathy and best wishes are with you as you go through these difficult time, especially in helping bereaved residents to deal with the very tragic pain of separation in an untimely, very painful and perhaps avoidable manner and I pray that the souls of the dear departed rest in peace,” he said.
Fashola, who charged the Institute to take interest during the construction of buildings to ensure that the right things were done, said at that point the opportunity to give advice and effect correction was still available adding that such intervention would be more timely and valuable than after a building had collapsed.
Obviously responding to the opening remarks of the President of the Institute who stressed the need to enforce the law to serve as deterrence, the Minister said as important as it is to enforce the law in the Built Industry as a means of minimizing incidences of building collapse, questions should be better asked during the construction of the buildings to ensure that the right things were being done.
He declared, “Mr. President, I couldn’t agree with you more that we need to enforce the law. But, I think there is a lot of work for all of us to do; because we must ask questions and I believe that as an Institute and as Professionals we, more than anybody, have the rights to ask those questions. And it is not when buildings have collapsed that we can ask those questions; it is while those buildings are being constructed.”
“You can go in there and see who is there; and that must not and should not offend anybody; just to see that the right thing is being done. In the interest of the preservation of life, that should not offend anybody. That will be my real charge to the Institute: How we can ensure that every building under construction is our business because every death that happens when a building collapses is also our business.”