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Lagos, Ogun Top list of of states most responsive to averting building collapse, says NIOB

Builder Omale Peter Ameh is the Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), FCT Chapter. In this exclusive interview, he discusses the legacy challenges of Building Collapse in the country, stating that Lagos and Ogun State must be commended for their responsiveness to the call to address the challenge.

He called on regulatory authorities at all levels to rise up to the responsibility of ridding the sector of quacks, and explained that although the NIOB is a body of professionals, it cannot perform regulatory function as it is not empowered by law to do so.


Buildings have continued to collapse even after a decade of your institute’s advocacy for the passage of the National Building Code. Would the NIOB fold its hands and watch buildings continue to collapse?

No, NIOB will not fold its hands, we cannot afford to watch people die as a result of quackery which became possible due to ineffective regulations of the Nigerian built /construction industry.

However, a point of note is that NIOB is an institution, not a regulatory agency or body of government. As a result, it is not possible for NIOB to enforce the law, be it a local government law, a state law or law at federal level.

Advocacy remains the role of the NIOB, and we have been doing that. We have continued to train construction artisans and tradesmen who should be employed by those who want to ensure quality workmanship of their buildings. But like I said, it is not part of our mandate to pull down poorly built buildings or to embark on enforcement or regulatory function, but we can help to identify them and we are very willing to do so as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). So, we have been very successful in terms of mandate delivery.

As a professional body, we try to educate and enlighten the public. This is how we have continued to reduce and mitigate the longstanding challenge of building collapse in the country. It is unfortunate that as a country, we find ourselves in this avoidable situation. However, people must learn to do the right thing.

Please give a rating: which State would you say is most committed to averting building collapse?

To be fair, Lagos and Ogun States come first on the list when you talk of states that are responsive to averting building collapse, based on what they have done and what they are trying to do. Although some other states are trying to also come on board, in that regard. Well, this is my own opinion. Some other States are beginning to see the cost of building collapse when compared to the cost of averting it.

The enforcement effort of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is also commendable, and we see their efforts to control development, but there is still so much more to be done. As an institute of professional Builders, the NIOB wants regulatory authorities at all levels of government to do all that needs to be done toward ensuring that buildings stop to collapse. We have done our part as an institute.

The NIOB celebrated the 2021 Builders Day in March. We paid advocacy visits to the Department of Development Control, FCTA. We also discussed with the Director of Development Control, and it was rewarding for us and for the country. The aim of the advocacy visits was to ensure that regulatory authorities do what they should do to justify their existence. I assure you that the NIOB will not relent in its effort.

The Federal Government has seen the need for what the NIOB has been advocating for, and I think that is a step in the measure of the goals we want to achieve.

The NIOB will not wait for buildings to collapse before we start making efforts, we will work to avert the tragedies. We don’t want to discuss who is responsible for a collapse or who is not, our goal is to avert building collapses, and we want regulatory bodies to support us in this, by carrying out their regulatory functions effectively.

Professionals bear the brunt when a building collapses. The public would say, “Builders have failed,” but the public fails to understand that so many buildings were not built by professional Builders, rather, they were built by quacks. In fact, in some cases, there is zero-professional input, so the structural integrity of such buildings is questionable. In some other cases, clients are responsible for the issues that lead to building collapse.