Ekpenyong Ekpenyong, the chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), Cross River chapter, says the Ikoyi building collapse should move the National Assembly to consider the speedy passage of a building code for the nation.

“From the rubbles of the collapsed building, it is clear that the materials are substandard, poor, the foundation poorly done, and there was poor supervision bringing me to the question, were professionals employed?” stated Mr Ekpenyong. “We pray that this kind of event enhances the quick hearing and passage of the building code that has been with the National Assembly.”

Mr Ekpenyong, reacting to the collapse of the 21-storey building in Ikoyi, made the call on Thursday.

He said the speedy hearing and passage of the building code would ensure that professional builders are brought on board in building sites. He added that no professional would want to lose his certification.

Mr Ekpenyong maintained that different professionals had different responsibilities, but according to him, in Nigeria, an architect wants to do the job of an engineer and a builder put together “with one or two quacks he calls foremen.”

“Some time ago, I kept on shouting about the construction of shops in the market here in Calabar until someone listened, and they started adding pillars to the structures. The regulatory bodies in the nation have not been doing their jobs, and this is giving room for quacks to pose as professionals,” he further stated. “I also notice that apart from the refusal of people to pay professionals, our building materials are also suspect as today. You can hardly get two by two planks with correct measurement in our sites.”

He explained that the sizes and quality of “our rods are suspect; a lot is being compromised in terms of size and quality.”

Mr Ekpenyong further noted, “The challenge is so huge that it needs to be checked from the roots, which is the production of our woods, rods, cement.”

He stated that after the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the institute, lawyers decided to offer free services to the institute in a bid to check quackery in the system.

He added that there was the need to have a strong synergy among the ministries of works, environment and relevant professional bodies in supervising construction sites and ensuring that the right professionals are used.

On November 1, 2021, at about 3:00 p.m., a 21-storey high-rise on 20 Gerald Road, Ikoyi, collapsed, killing dozens of people, mostly construction workers.

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