President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern over persistent building collapse in the country, and warned that those responsible for incidents of professional negligence would feel the full wrath of the law.
The president gave the warning when he received the leadership of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) led by Obafemi Onashile at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
The president said the dark days of impunity were gone for good, and assured Nigerians that his administration would remain focused and committed to creating an inclusive and diversified economy.
He told members of the institute that the recent tragic incident in Lagos and many others across the country were a reminder of the need to strictly adhere to quality standards on construction projects.
The president recalled the recent building collapse in Lagos in which more than a dozen people were left dead and concluded that greed and incompetence had become the bane of the construction industry in Nigeria.
“The recent tragic incident in Lagos and many others across the country reminds us of the need to strictly adhere to quality standards when it comes to construction projects.
“Young innocent lives must never be lost due to incompetence and greed. Simply put, no corners must be cut.
“I want to assure you that those responsible for such incidents of professional negligence will feel the full wrath of the law,” the president stated.
Recall that on March 13 a three-storey building at Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island, collapsed. The building also served as accommodation for a school.
While the dust was yet to settle down, another two-storey building collapsed at Sogoye, along Bode area of Ibadan, Oyo State, leaving an unspecified number of people trapped.
President Buhari seized the occasion to highlight the administration’s achievements in stimulating the economy in the past three years, noting that growing the nation’s economy means ‘‘national growth must impact the silent majority.”
He added: “This is why, in the past three years, we focused on key job-creating sectors such as agriculture and infrastructure development.
“You will all recall that our agriculture and infrastructure programmes contributed to our exit from recession. This is a clear example of how, if we push ‘inclusive’ job-creating policies, growth will follow.
“We will remain committed to these and other programmes to ensure that the success of our nation is felt by the majority of Nigerians.”
The president welcomed recommendations and suggestions from the Institute on how to enhance the construction industry, directing that they make a formal submission to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing as soon as possible.
In his presentation, the President of NIQS, Onashile, appealed to the Federal Government to create a directorate of quantity surveying and projects costs management to address the issue of unclear delineation of professional functions amongst construction professions within the government.
Onashile also made a case for quantity surveyors to be mandated and allowed to undertake cost management of projects of all forms on behalf of government, among others.
The Institute, while congratulating the president on his well-deserved re-election, expressed its support and “total confidence in his administration and leadership direction which have brought hope, progress and stability to Nigeria”.
A highpoint of the visit was the conferment of the Fellowship Grade of the NIQS – the highest cadre of membership – on President Buhari.
The president was also honoured with the ‘Life Champion of Anti-Corruption Crusade in Nigeria’ award.