The National President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) Bldr. Kunle Awobodu has said that the belief that Nigeria is safe from the seismic zone might not be correct as available data show that Nigeria is susceptible to earthquake.
He said that earth tremors the country experienced in 1933, 1939, 1964, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2009 is a pointer to the fact that the country can experience earthquake if preventive measure are not taken to curb it.
According to DailyTrust, He said, “Since geophysical and geological studies have discovered that a fault zone that connects with the Atlantic fracture system exists along Ifewara-Zungeru, hence, Nigeria, especially South-West is susceptible to earthquake occurrence.”
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The portentous signs are obvious. All efforts must be geared towards saving the nation from enormous calamity in the event of earthquake in future. Construction of bungalows should be encouraged at places where standard in higher structures could not be guaranteed. Design and construction of earthquake resistant buildings that possess adequate lateral load resisting systems should be promoted. A reliable mechanism for construction inspection should be instituted, if possible by outsourcing. Developers should be made to employ adequate number of qualified building professionals. Being proactive today is cheaper and saves huge losses in the future. Let the government invest in prevention by demolishing defective buildings for regeneration and ensure quality control of materials and labour force on sites, guided by prompt implementation of the National Building Code,” he said.
Awobodu chided the government for failing in its primary responsibility of preventing its citizenry against sharp practices that could endanger their lives, saying concerned construction professionals could no longer continue to make recommendations that would not be implemented by those in authority.
“Those possessing the unalloyed quest for standard practice and safe built environment established a common front named Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) in the late 2011. Between that time and now, a lot of revelations from building sites through the huge BCPG network of professionals-cum-artisans show that we have a big challenge in our hands. Many construction sites do not possess building plan approvals due to bureaucracy, high fees, extortion, ignorance etc. Corruption pervades the monitoring system. And efforts to sanitize the system are doused by frustration,” he said.
He called on the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari to sanitize the system and manifest in the building products, advising that those that monitor construction sites should be properly counseled to uphold the professional ethic as embed in the National Building Code.
“They should be well motivated in order to protect them against temptations and immediate pecuniary gains. They should uphold professional ethics for the sake of safety in the nation’s built environment. Political office holders also should not compromise on enforcement.”
“Prevalence of substandard construction works in Nigeria has been a source of worry to professionals in the nation’s built environment. Quackery has dominated the construction sector while due process is of lip service. The situation has been made worse by the collapse of stock market, causing the diversion of investment into the real estate by developers, whose major focus is on profit rather than quality. Moreover, since such houses would not be occupied by them, the developers with a business mindset make innocent occupiers become the inheritors of potential danger,” he added.