Building collapse: Aganga, SON in trouble as Melaye slams cement companies over sub-standard production

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…Threatens mass protest against

A group, under the auspices of Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) on Friday in Abuja, attributed the increasing building collapse across the country to low quality of cement production by cement companies.

According to the ACN, the 32.5 cement grade has been phased out in many countries because it will never give the much needed strength in construction as the 42.5 grade.

It said that the companies, despite the phase-out, still insist on its production “with the porous explanation that it is good for plastering only.”

Speaking at a mild protest staged by the group in Abuja, the Executive Secretary, Hon Dino Melaye, called on the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, and the Director-General, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr. Joseph Odumodu, “to completely outlaw the use of the 32.5 grade cement and save Nigerians from further building collapse.”

With different placards bearing inscriptions such as: “Upgrade the Quality of Cement,” “Building Collapse Must Stop,” “Stop Killing Nigerians Through Low Quality Cement,” etc,  Melaye warned that if not redressed, the group would go out massively on protest.

“If concrete policy and regulation is not enforced immediately to save Nigerians from the gory of building collapse and untimely death, we will not waste any further time to protest against the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and the Standard Organization of Nigeria,” he said.

Melaye stated that though there has been a clamour for the standardisation of cement in Nigeria, it has not got the attention it deserved from the Trade and Investment Ministry.

“Even though construction is growing, we may likely to ignore the incidences of building collapse and attendant unwarranted death and loss of properties. Cement quality has been identified lately as the key culprit in this painful occurrence.

“If the cement market is filled with 32.5 and 42.5 cement grades, you and I know the ones the illiterates and the greedy contractors will go for. Who will police the builders and the contractors to make sure that they use the 42.5 grade for pillars and 32.5 for plastering only?

“Nigeria still has a long way to go in effective regulation of construction. In a situation like this the win-win option for the larger good of the society is to standardise the quality of the cement by raising the bar.

“Ironically, I understand that upgrading to 42.5 can be done without raising the price of cement, although I suspect that it will take a fraction off the profit margin. But of what use is celebrating the growth of construction when lives and properties remain endangered,” he remarked.

Find below the full text of Dino Melaye’s statement…

COLLAPSE OF BUILDINGS AND THE NECESSITY TO STEM THE TIDE

Even though construction is growing, we may likely to ignore the incidences of building collapse and the attendant’s unwarranted death and loss of properties. Cement quality has been identified lately as the key culprit in this painful occurrence. Recently there has been a clamor for the standardization of cement in Nigeria. But it is not getting the attention it deserved from the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga. The 32.5 cement grade has been phased out in many countries such as USA, India, China and most of Europe, because it will never give us as much strength in construction as the 42.5 grade. Cement Companies in Nigeria are insisting on making use of the 32.5 grade with the porous explanation that it is good for plastering only. But the typical Nigerians builder will end up using it for Pillars, columns and beams, and the structure will continue to be in danger. On the strength of this myopic explanation by selfish cement companies in their ploy to continue to endanger the lives of people, we as the voice for the voiceless in this Nation and as an Organization that speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves, strongly call on the Minister of Trade and Investment and the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to completely outlaw the use of the 32.5 grade Cement and save Nigerian from further building collapse.

If the Cement market is filled with 32.5 and 42.5 cement grades, you and I know the ones the illiterates and the greedy contractors will go for. Who will police the builders and the contractors to make sure that they use the 42.5 grade for pillars and 32.5 for plastering only?

Nigeria still has a long way to go in effective regulation of construction. In a situation like this the win-win option for the larger good of the society is to standardize the quality of the cement by raising the bar. Ironically, I understand that upgrading to 42.5 can be done without raising the price of cement, although I suspect that it will take a fraction off the profit margin. But of what use is celebrating the growth of construction when lives and properties remain endangered. In the light of the following, we will not waste any further time to protest again the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and the Standard Organization of Nigeria, if concrete policy and regulation is not enforced immediately, to save Nigerians from the gory of building collapse and untimely death.

Hon. Dino Melaye

Executive Secretary, Anti-Corruption Network

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