The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), weekend, in Abuja, proffered solutions to the incessant cases of building collapse in the country.
The institutes listed among others solutions, the need for the National Assembly to pass the National Building Code and for states to enact laws like the Lagos State Building Inspectorate Law to guide the built environment across the nation.
Chairman of NIOB, FCT Abuja chapter, Peter Omale, at a news conference and induction of members as part of activities to mark the 2021 Builders’ Day, called for legal backing to prosecute offenders.
Omale said the essence of the commemoration of the Builder’s Day on March 13, was to raise awareness on the need for a standard building production process in Nigeria.
He said that it was also a sober reflection of the loss of lives that occurred at the building collapse in Lagos in 2019 at Itafaji, where so many children died and Uyo Church, where many worshipers lost their lives.
“It is something that is avoidable if the right things were done, however, because of quacks having their way into the built environment space, these accidents happen.
“The NIOB is using this opportunity to draw the attention of the public that this unwarranted loss of lives, resources and also the death of people who would have been future leaders must stop.
“It is to this end that we are using the Builders’ Day to sensitise the public on the need to embrace best practices, ensure that in every building endeavours and real estate they should ensure to engage a registered builder.
“If we must build right, if we must build well, it is very important that we engage registered builders in every building project across the nation,” he said.
The chairman said that the advocacy of the NIOB Day, the first edition in 2020 brought about the Lagos State Building Inspectorate Law.
“Today you will discover that if you go to Lagos state, there is no construction site that activities can take place without the presence of a registered builder.
“We want to appreciate the Lagos state government for taking a bold step of ensuring that registered builders are the professionals manning all the construction activities as far as building is concerned in the state,’’ he said.
Omale, therefore, appealed to all other state governments across the country to embrace this law and replicate it in their various states. He also appealed to the National Assembly through the winister for power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola to have the building code passed into law.
He noted that the bill when passed would create boundary lines for all professionals in the built environment to take up responsibilities and stick to the ethics of the profession.
According to him, this will give it the force required to mete out punitive measures when the need arises because the code is like the blood vessel of the country since housing is a social need for everyone.
He said that if the nation did not do the right, good and safe houses for citizens to live in, then it was preparing for disasters yet to be discovered.
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Sunday complained about the non-payment of salaries of up to 10 months despite suspending the strike on “no victimisation clause.”
While blasting the Federal Government and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for victimising it members through refusal to pay them, it noted that “while members are back to their duty posts to work, the harsh economy being experienced due to unpaid salaries and non-refund of deducted check-off dues will affect productivity.”
A release by the chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan, Ayo Akinwole, a professor, maintained that the government had refused to remit the Union’s deductions it made to the account of the Union with a plan to stifle it.
The Union warned that if pushed to the limit, withdrawal of work in the nearest future might be inevitable.
According to Akinwole, while the government is paying outstanding five months salaries for those on the nominal role at an agonisingly slow pace, over one hundred UI academic staff are being owed salaries ranging between two to 10 months.
He disclosed that those newly employed in February 2020 have not received any penny with suffering on their families and dependants because they maintained their stand to reject enrolment on the IPPIS.
The ASUU chief stated that the Buhari government had continued to show that it cannot obey the rule of law by continuing to deduct housing funds from ASUU members who have not subscribed to the scheme and also refused to refund the same to respective accounts.
“On December 23, 2020, ASUU conditionally suspended (with effect from 12:01 am on Thursday, 24th December 2020) its 9-months old strike action which it began in March 23rd 2020 owing to the failure of the Nigerian Government to address the outstanding issues as outlined in the collective bargaining agreements of 2009, 2013,2017 and 2019 freely reached and signed between the Government and ASUU.
“The suspension of the strike was based on an agreement reached and a ‘Memorandum of Action’ signed in good faith between the Government and the ASUU at the stakeholders’ meeting held on a Tuesday, 22nd December 2020. A major common position agreed to (and expected to be respected) by the Government and ASUU was that ‘Nobody shall be victimised in any way whatsoever for his/her role in the process leading to the Memorandum of Action,’” according to the association.
The university teachers union said “the agreement reached on the 22nd December 2020 imposed some obligations on both the government and ASUU.
“On the part of ASUU, the Union undertake to go back to the classrooms, laboratories, workshops, workstations etc, to do the best for the students and the country. The Governments is to both Federal and State is to sincerely fulfil their own part of the bargain, a major part of which is the NO Victimisation clause. While ASUU as a Union and her members as individuals in various branches have remained faithful to this agreement by returning to classes and performing their respective duties, the federal government, true to type has reneged on its part.
“Contrary to FGN affirmation of its commitment to pay all withheld salaries of ASUU members who have not enrolled in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information system (Ippis), three months after the suspension of Strike, thousands of ASUU members across various branch are still being owed salaries While confirming that government is defraying the generally withheld five months salaries at an agonisingly slow rate of one outstanding salary per month, the salaries of some members running to hundreds have been permanently and consistently withheld by the office of Accountant general of the federation (OAGF). Officials of the OAGF keep adducing flimsy untenable reasons for the perpetual non-payment of salaries, demanding loads of paperwork and documents both from the union and the bursary unit of the various universities as well as the university administration.