• Advocates Public Housing, Govt Pro-activeness
President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), TPL. Olutoyin Ayinde has attributed the causes of incessant building collapse in the country to what he termed as ‘impunity’ and ‘poor physical development planning models’.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with Africa Housing News reporters in Abuja, Ayinde condemned the high level of non-compliance to extant laws as well as lack of public housing, thereby leaving a lot to the informal sector to handle.
“Our model for physical development in Nigeria is wrong, and that’s why we’ll always have cases of building collapse. The style of our governance leaves a lot for the informal sector to take charge of; so, we don’t have public housing. What we do is passivate lands for individuals trying to build their houses. So, we have every individual in the construction market to build their own homes. We don’t have it like that in other places. Rather, homes are built by cooperate organizations. You either have council flats or the one being built by private corporations or cooperatives.
“When you have corporate organizations developing homes, you are faced with only one contractor building several blocks. The structure designs are similar, so that’s where you see regularity and sequence and such can be repeated in various cities and all that individuals like you and I need to do when we need houses is to subscribe into any of the structures, so we are not thinking of designs. What we are thinking is how we can access the mortgage that we’ll pay overtime. However, with the current arrangement, things would fail because we can’t get to check everybody at the same time”, he revealed.
According to him, the most distressing aspect of the collapse of the value system is the scant regard for the sanctity of human life that now pervades the system, reaching even into the nation’s built and construction industry, which were supposed to be governed by a higher culture.
“Every society, community, group, or institution functions on a system of values. The major cause of recurring building collapse is humans. Buildings collapse for two reasons; it’s either natural or artificial. Artificial is human error. In the history of building collapsing in Nigeria since 1971 which is approximately 51years, we’ve not been able to solve it. And the reason is that we’re not being courageous enough to do the right thing. People have committed errors but they’ve gone scot-free. What that connotes is that anyone could commit crime and be exempted”, he said.
Ayinde, therefore, stressed the need for the adoption and implementation of public housing, as well as improved government pro-activeness in ensuring prompt compliance to extant laws with proper penalty measured against defaulters rather than towing the ‘path of impunity’.