Minister calls for prosecution of building collapse culprits

National Building Code Advisory Committee with minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola.

By Golfa Francis, Abuja

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has called for the prosecution of builders found culpable in building collapse incidents in any part of Nigeria.

 According to the Minister, it was the only way to send a strong message to builders to comply with the national building standards.

Mr Fashola, while hosting members of the National Building Code Advisory Committee who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, said where an investigation has been concluded in any event of building collapse and someone was found not to have complied to any of the building standards, such a person should be prosecuted as an example to others.

He expressed regrets that there has been little or no prosecution of any person after an investigation has been concluded over a collapsed building.

 “Somebody must have acted wrongly, either in the design stage, whether it is in the material supply, whether it is in the compliance stage, somebody did something that he or she should not have done”, that such a person must be exposed and taken up for prosecution” .Fashola said

“I think that we have come to a point where after each unfortunate collapse we go back to the investigations, let us find one person who has acted wrongly; Find that person and let us take him up for prosecution”, the Minister emphasized.

He pointed out that such an example was what every society needed.

“People needed to know that there would be consequences for non-compliance to the law because people have died in any event of building collapse, the culprit should be answerable for manslaughter or for criminal negligence or answerable for so many other things”.

He said once somebody was made to answer questions before the public, irrespective of the outcome, others will sit up.

Mr Fashola advised the professional builders to resist the temptation to shield their members during investigations.

The Minister also expressed delight that the Committee was researching into the earth movement in some parts of the country adding that he would love to see the results of whatever investigations that the body would arrive at and the recommendations that could affect the industry in terms of designs and quantity and quality of materials, among others.

Earlier, in his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Architect Mohammed Faworaja, had given an update of the activities of the Committee since inauguration on July 26, 2018.

The update include conclusion of work on the guidelines for gas piping to buildings in the form of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) adding that a draft code has been prepared to be procedurally presented to a Stakeholders’ Workshop between now and November before incorporating it in the National Building Code.

Other activities, he said, include monitoring building related activities nationwide, adding that one of the most worrisome outcomes of the monitoring was the incidences of building collapse across the country particularly in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and other cities in the country.

Lateefah Ibrahim