The Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, Thursday offered a new panacea to the issue of poorly executed building jobs that collapsed, saying it would end if a black book was opened for all culprits.
He, therefore, ordered the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), and Council for the Registration of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), to open a black book for all engineers found culpable in cases of collapse of buildings and other infrastructure to put an end to the phenomenon.
Speaking while receiving the new president of NSE, Ademola Olorunfemi, in his office, the minister lamented that while the Federal Ministry of Works had since embraced the Nigerian Content policy by awarding all projects below N5 billion to indigenous contractors, some of them did shoddy jobs that “collapse before our eyes.”
He said: “I charge you to open a black book for all such engineers to serve as a deterrent to others. Once this is done, the issue of collapsed buildings will be a thing of the past.”
According to him, in keeping with the federal government’s policy that all projects of N5 billion and below should be reserved for companies, of the 21 category C projects awarded recently, 15 went to Nigerian firms.
Onolememen also welcomed the inclusion of members of the engineering body in the inspection of federal highways and bridges as it would help to improve the quality of work done.
Earlier, the President of NSE, Adeloma Olorunfemi, had said: “The rising incidence of building collapse in the country has become a disturbing trend. These tragedies are mostly accompanied by mass loss of lives and properties worth billions of naira.
“Investigations revealed that poor workmanship, use of cheap and inferior materials, wrong interpretation of building design, inadequate supervision, non-adherence to due process in building construction, lack of maintenance culture, greed on the parts of contractors and client representatives alike, abuse of plans and the activity of quacks are some of the reasons behind these avoidable agonies.
“We will partner all stakeholders to stem this negative development. We will join forces with the Engineering Regulation Monitoring arm of COREN to ensure that the relevant laws guiding the sector are adhered to; stimulate law enforcement agencies to bring offenders to justice, draw the media into the stakeholders’ forum to play their part by educating clients to avoid cheap services which often land them in the hands of quacks.”
According to Olorunfemi, on the card is a strong advocacy that the government must as a matter of policy, consider the Nigerian professional first in job placement and contract awards in the efforts to tackle our development and build sustainable capacity.
He added: “The development of appropriate skills is the fastest way for us to tackle the lingering case of the lack of infrastructure. In this regard, we have strengthened our Engineering Practice and Resource Development Centre (EPRD).
“This world-class training institute, for which we are partnering with a South African corporate giant in the technology industry, International Energy Services Limited, IESL, will be optimised. We also urge the minister to take advantage of this platform to boost the skills of the personnel of the ministry.
“The Nigerian engineer is eager to see that we actualise high living standard for our citizens, this means that we need to deepen our partnership with government and the Organized Private Sector. “We have made inroads in this regard, particularly in the constant communications and interaction with our government institutions.
“We are in the process of establishing NSE Monitoring Action Groups to monitor policies and programmes affecting critical sectors of the nation’s economy, for the purpose of engineering input and liaising with relevant stakeholders from both public and private sectors to ensure coordinated action for a sustainable development.
“We are particular about the interests of our future; this is why the NSE under my presidency will intensify the activities of our young engineers. I will support initiatives geared towards mentoring and nurturing young engineers to be fully prepared for the legacy of excellence we are going to bequeath to them.”