The National Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, Engr. (Mrs.) Lola Adetona has warned that the rising cost of cement and other building materials could lead to many building collapse in 2021.
While expressing concern over the second wave of Coronavirus aka COVID-19, which she said is now threatening to make 2021 another pandemic year, Adetona, who spoke at the Civil Engineers’ Annual Dinner and Public Lecture held in Lagos on the 26th December, 2020 with engineers in attendance, stated that this was not the problem waiting for the country next year.
“Nigeria should get ready for many more building collapses in 2021 if we continue to ignore the negative impact of the cost of cement and other related construction materials.
“Skyrocketing cost of cement is making construction engineers, builders and contractors, particularly quacks, to find shortcuts at the expense of Quality Control and Assurance (QCQA) because they are more interested in making profit, many do not care what happens to the buildings in the long run.
“This is why we may continue to experience building collapse next year.
“We are in danger. Deep danger. We no longer have any other option than to find a way to stem this tide. We have an opportunity now to talk and take this matter to the next level, quickly; for the solution to the problem,” she said.
Adetona emphasized that it was no longer the time for lazy intellectual approach or argument or a “time to surrender to inferior positions that insist on impossibilities, in this matter.”
She said that a solution must be found to the increase among the federal government, cement manufacturers, and indeed, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
According to her, there should be a round-table meeting that will involve NICE, cement manufacturers, and OEMs to discuss this issue, and that all stakeholders needed to be in a room and urgently talk about the issue.
“I speak to you, not just as the National Vice Chairman of NICE, I speak as a concerned mother, wife, resident and tax-paying citizen.
“The reality of these tragedies when they happen are more graphic than we know; particularly to victims of collapsed buildings.
“When a building collapses, children die, parents die, whole families are lost to every incident. Those who are lucky to survive death may never celebrate Christmas or
New Year days, many years after their existence, in a collapsed building,” she said.
She stated that with building collapse, generations are destroyed and scarred forever and that future of children are stunted, and “capital is lost and people lose jobs, people end up in hospital or jail.”
She said: “No client commissions a contractor to give a building that will collapse few years after building neither have we seen anyone win award for best collapsed building.”
While saying that we could not wait for everybody else to wake up to the danger threatening buildings next year, she said that “when we thought the coronavirus pandemic was leaving 2021 for us, it has gone to gear two.”
“You will agree with me that we cannot fight COVID-19 on one hand and at the same time do damage control of buildings that will be collapsing when contractors will be forced to cut corners.
“We can save those buildings today and as NICE, we MUST move our narrative in this direction because time is of the essence.
“We are NICE because there is no challenge that we cannot surmount and indeed, we have overcome many in the past; so long as it has to do with our job as Civil Engineers.
“I appeal to us all, whoever we are, wherever we are, to take this seriously and let us move this motion, pursue with passion and let our sense of patriotism deliver this promise to Nigerians and to our great nation, Nigeria,” she said.