Renowned legal practitioner, Mr Femi Falana, on Friday offered to give free legal services to the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) in prosecuting building collapse offenders.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), made the pledge at a rally, organised by NIOB to commemorate 2020 Builders’ Day in Lagos.
He called on builders to be vigilant to ensure the arrest of quacks and corrupt contractors, compromising construction standards.
“The NIOB has to be vigilant and ensure that fake builders and quacks in the building industry are arrested and prosecuted by the government.
“Henceforth, we are going to work with this institute to ensure that those who are so callous to sacrifice the lives of people because they want to cut corners are dealt with.’’
The senior lawyer called on relevant agencies of government to wake up to their responsibilities of regulating construction activities in Lagos and other cities to ensure compliance with building laws.
“Unless you are willing to collaborate, your profession is invaded by quacks and a lot of fake people, including foreigners.
He criticized contractors hiring foreigners in the building sector in a bid to make the government see them as hiring experts to handle building projects.
“Many of the foreigners are fake builders. We must now ensure that whenever such people are found, we get them prosecuted and show them the way out.”
According to Falana, this is the only way to sanitise the building industry in Nigeria.
The President of the NIOB, Mr Kunle Awobodu, thanked Falana for his offer to collaborate with NIOB to end the menace of building collapse in the country.
Awobodu said that professional builders must take their rightful places as managers of building production and construction processes in Nigeria.
“Our nation needs not to continue to waste lives and properties while it has a stock of specialists with the appropriate body of knowledge for the construction of lasting and sustainable buildings.
“We enjoin all individuals and corporate bodies to join the campaign – “Do Your Part, Build Right, Use the Right Professionals for Building Construction, Engage and Support Professional Builders,” said Awobodu.
A traditional ruler, Oba Asunmo Alayandelu, advised the Lagos State Building Control Agency and other regulatory agencies to shun sentiments and take decisive actions against sub-standard constructions.
“Let it be zero tolerance, the operation no mercy, pull down defective buildings without any sentiments,” Alayandelu, a fellow of the NIOB said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rally commenced with a visit to No. 63 Massey Street, Ita-Faji, Lagos, where a building collapsed on March 13, 2019, killing some people, including schoolchildren.
The builders later proceeded to Ikeja Local Government Secretariat and the Lagos State House of Assembly as well as Ndubusi Kanu Park in Alausa, Ikeja for public enlightenment and advocacy on building-related issues.