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FCT Building collapse: Panel recommends sack of unqualified staff

*Arrest, prosecution of contractor

In an effort to end the unprofessional conduct of civil engineers at various Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Civil Engineering department, a panel of enquiry set up to unravel the cause of last August Jabi building collapse, has recommended mass sack of quark workers particularly in the Development Control.

The Professor Danladi S. Matawal headed 13 men panel of inquiry, on presentation of its committee report Wednesday to the FCT Minister, Mallam Mohammed Bello, recommended that many heads may roll as discovered that lack of professional and managerial approach led to the collapse of the building and loss of lives.

According to the Chairman, the panel, uncovered that the Development Control, a unit of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), is currently populated with unqualified engineers and needed to be overhauled for efficiency.

“We witnessed a situation where buildings are approached without the engineers visiting the site to ascertain the kind of building and assign necessary structures. We also had problems of certificate and incompetency among staff in Development Control. These are the kind of things that we can’t see in either the legal profession, or in the medical profession, but here even a site labourer becomes building engineer”.

The panel further recommended that the Development Control lacks qualified staff and needs to be staffed for efficient performance. It said that the building which has the design of 2005 building validation failed to obtain reviewed validation before further construction.

“It is pertinent to note that many builders add another floor in uncompleted building years after stoppage. We recommend that such is quite unprofessional since building design revalidation is a regular exercise”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello, has said that his administration had expected a thorough investigation of the cause of the incident and also proffered solution on how to end such reoccurrence.

The Minister, who was represented in the occasion by the Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyaka Ohaa, said the administration, has set machinery in motion to overhaul the development control.

This he noted is with a view to strengthening its institutional framework to enable it come with the ever increasing growth in building activities in the FCT.

He further said that the administration is at the verge of breathing a new life into the department so that it can function more efficiently and give developers value for their money.

He stressed that the administration hopes that decentralizing the activities of the department would place it in a vantage position to keep pace with the challenging profile of the FCT and improve service delivery.

He said “given the pedigree of this panel, I have no doubt that the panel has done justice to its terms of reference. I therefore wish to assure them that the recommendations contained in the report will be implemented in order to address the lingering issues of building collapse in the FCT in particular and Nigeria in general”.

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