Reps to probe importation, manufacturing of substandard steel
• Worry over COREN report on N500bn lost to collapsed buildings
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, unveiled plans to investigate the importation and manufacturing of substandard steel in Nigeria.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion on the ‘Need to investigate the importation and manufacturing of substandard steel in Nigeria’, sponsored by Hon Babajide Obanikoro.
In his lead debate, the lawmaker expressed concern over the media reports of April 30 and May 1, 2020, on the collapse of an eight-storey building under construction in Owerri, which led to the death of two people while eight others were rescued and rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
“The House also notes that the rescue operators later pulled out five more dead bodies from the debris of the building on Friday while the eight people taken to the hospital were later confirmed dead, bringing the total casualty figure to 15.
“The House further notes that in February 2021, 13 steel producing companies across the nation were shut down by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) due to the production of sub-standard steel.
“The House is aware that one of the main reasons for building collapses in Nigeria is the use of sub-standard building materials, such as steel, etc.
“The House is also aware that in December 2016 the roof of a church in Akwa–Ibom State caved in, killing scores of worshippers and injured many and before that, there was the Synagogue Church disaster of September 2014 where a seven-storey guest house collapsed, claiming about 116 lives while in March 2019, three buildings in Lagos-Island collapsed, killing scores of people, including children.
“The House is concerned by the report of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria that over N500 billion has been lost due to building collapse and that about 175 buildings collapsed in Nigeria between 1971 and 2016 with 1,455 lives being lost and the Federal Government losing over N1 billion weekly to smuggling of substandard steel products into Nigeria.
“The House is concerned that the history of building collapses in Nigeria is alarming and a serious cause for concern that calls for a more robust approach to checkmate the manufacturing and importation of substandard steel.”
To this end, the House mandated the Committee on Steel to investigate the smuggling, importation and use of substandard steel and operations of locally fabricated steel companies in Nigeria and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.