THE Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has said that jailing any professional responsible for a collapsed building would serve as a deterrent and prevent reoccurrence.
Fashola made this assertion in Abuja when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship programme, NAN Forum.
“How many professionals have been jailed for collapsed building?
“Once you jail a professional in the same way you sanction a medical officer for the negligence of conduct with regard to his patients or a legal practitioner with regard to his clients
“Then you have sent the clearest message that those who build houses for people owe a duty of care to ensure that they build according to approved design and specifications.
“And that the approved design standard is also followed to the letter, you don’t short-change your materials,” he said.
The minister stated that there must be consequences when people violated the National Housing Code, adding that it was not the responsibility of the ministry rather a law enforcement that could assist us.
Speaking on affordable housing, he recalled that the board of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) were recently inaugurated to boost it.
Fashola said that the two were important agencies to help government deliver on the policy of affordable housing, noting that the FMBN was saddled to finance while the FHA was to build.
“By the time I started, it seemed that the two agencies are competing so we are trying to realign that; we are also engaging the support of states to come unto the National Housing Fund (NHF).
“We also want to extend the impact of NHF to cooperatives for unions, artisans among others, so that we can have non-governmental workers too contributing to the fund and benefiting from it.
“We are looking at the possibilities whereby cooperatives can also take housing fund loan and build houses for their members.
This, he said, could go a long way to reduce the housing deficit and make housing affordable to all.