Aminat Yahaya —
Members of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild have proposed the prosecution of people who break government seals.
They made this call at a recent Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Ikeja Cell meeting themed “Professional Ethics and Codes of Conduct”.
The Lagos State Government had earlier sealed for the second time 12 buildings where the occupants removed the seals in the Banana Island area of the state.
The agency also removed two illegal fences.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Gbolahan Oki, said the affected structures were sealed because of the failure of their developers to obtain planning permits and removal of government seals.
Oki said, “The ongoing removal and sealing of the buildings in Banana Island and other parts of the state is geared towards compelling compliance on the part of the building public to ensure that sanity is restored to the built sector.”
The President of the guild, Sulaiman Yusuf, stated that laws were in place and those found culpable needed to be arrested.
“The issue is that monitoring is not a one-off thing. Once a place is sealed, there should be constant monitoring to ensure that compliance is done, to avoid violators, he said.
“Whosoever seals must endevour to monitor the process from time to time, ensuring unsealing does not take place.
“Once an unsealing happens, the agencies should get to the location early enough to arrest everybody on site, so that they face the law. In addition, this action must be publicized to serve as a deterrent to others”.
In the same vein, the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Abiodun Fatuyi, said everybody should take responsibility for their actions.
“Building collapse takes lives. The implication of this is the safety of lives. If anybody is caught breaking seals, they should go through the due process of being prosecuted, and whatever sanction necessary should be meted out, he stated.
“So that going forward, people can understand the implication of their actions so that it would serve as a deterrent to others.”
Meanwhile, the Financial Secretary of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Ikeja Branch, Funmi Olubajo, asserted that it boiled down to ethics and integrity.
He said, “A lot of factors come to play when a building is sealed. Clearly, there has been a contravention, which the owners, professionals and government agencies are aware of. If the seal is broken to continue construction, clearly there is a breach in ethics.
“We have had situations where government officials said that they were not aware of the broken seal. This is also a gap in monitoring.”
Also, the pioneer President of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Kunle Awobodu, stressed that ethics was very important.
“We need to recruit our younger ones and see how we can guide them because many of them are stepping into projects that they do not have the experience to handle, especially the developers”, he said.
“And, instead of them consulting senior professionals in the industry, they would not handle the big projects well and this is where the issue starts. Therefore, we need to bring them together for mentoring”, he added.
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