The President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Mr. Tonye Braide, has called on the government to audit the activities of all building regulatory agencies in the countries, following the rising cases of building collapse.
According to him, each building that crumbles to the ground is a statement of the failure of the regulatory agencies.
He said, “The frequency of building collapse may raise questions on the relevance of the agencies. There may be the need to conduct an audit on the activities of these agencies over the last three years to see how relevant their areas of emphasis have been towards national development.
“The continuing collapse of buildings in Nigeria will raise questions on the integrity of the officers in the agencies. Many could ask: when buildings collapse what has been the reaction? Were investigations and reports to prepare preventive measures to forestall future occurrence carried out? Has any of the actors in the development process been brought to book? Have the Nigerian people been told what may be the direct and remote causes of the collapse, which would have killed scores of innocent citizens? When a person presents himself for a job he cannot do, it is corruption; and Nigeria has the mechanism to fight and contain corruption.”
Braide, who spoke at the third distinguished architect’s lecture delivered by Olufemi Majekodunmi, said if the fight against corruption was extended to the regulatory process in the construction industry it would create a pathway to stop the continuing collapse of buildings and make the country great again, architecturally.
He added, “If we aspire to be one of the leading 20 nations in architecture, we must rise to collectively stop the spate of collapsed buildings in Nigeria. The buildings are coming down at an average rate of one per month with great fatalities. This is totally unacceptable for a country repositioning towards becoming relevant in global affairs in the industry. It means that something is critically wrong with the structure of building construction administration.
“Government has set up regulatory agencies in the industry, but are these agencies doing what they should be doing? Some agencies have personnel who have emptied the content of their brains in chasing rumours and gossips, leaving no space to contain the how and why of building collapse. We are not taking the blame for the crumbling buildings in our cities away from design failures, but building collapse is also due to poor governance structures in the construction process, not architectural design failure alone.”
Majekodunmi in his lecture said African architects had the ability to create designs that could be emulated by those in the western world, if well utilised.
He said Nigeria had strong cultural linkages and an emerging architecture well suited for this century.