A human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has pledged his support towards addressing the menace of building collapse in the country by prosecuting offenders.
Falana made this known during a rally to mark the maiden Builders’ Day of the Nigerian Institute of Building, in Lagos.
According to him, the law is against the criminal negligence that leads to the collapsed building.
He said he would partner the leadership of the NIOB to ensure that any building collapse case would be investigated and anyone found liable would be prosecuted.
He said, “As you are aware, most of those who put up buildings in our country have not been trained, even public buildings are not constructed by registered builders. We have to stop fake builders from invading the industry.
“No fake lawyer can practice law in Nigeria; fake builders must no longer be allowed to encroach on the building industry. Where we find fake builders, we must get them prosecuted. We must also ensure that victims of building collapse are compensated; the builder must also be taken to court and made to pay adequate compensation.
“Henceforth, we must get those involved prosecuted; compensation should be paid to the victims who are alive or family members of those who may be killed. With this, we can put an end to building collapse in Nigeria.”
Falana said he would be offering his service to the NIOB pro bono as service to humanity, adding that it had become necessary to stop people from cutting corners and killing people.
The rally, organized in memory of the victims of Ita-Faaji building collapse of March 13, 2019, in Lagos, was held by builders in the 36 states of the federation.
The President of NIOB, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said the construction of buildings to standard remained the institute’s demand from the government.
He stated that frequent building failure in a nation due to quackery was an abnormality that should not be allowed to continue in the society.
Awobodu said building production was a complex process that required expertise to achieve its serviceability and safety at a reasonable cost.
He said, “To forestall poor production of buildings on sites, the Nigerian government took some proactive measures by enacting into law the Builders’ Act through Decree 45 of 1989, now CAP 13 LFN 2004. The essence of the Act is to ensure that trained and licensed builders solely manage the production of buildings on sites in order to ascertain quality output.
“With the appropriate and commendable system that the government has put in place to ensure professionalism in the production of buildings in Nigeria, why is the nation still plagued with the sordid crisis of building collapse?”
He explained that the reality was that the production of buildings that had been collapsing was not managed by registered professional builders.
Awobodu said the Lagos State Government in its new building regulations had stipulated that trained and registered builders should be in charge of building construction.
He urged other states to adopt the new Lagos regulations with commitment and enforcement in line with global best practices.