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The Federal Government has tasked Quantity Surveyors (QS) to tackle the challenge of high cost of construction of infrastructural projects in the country.

The Director in charge of Buildings, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Olusegun Bolarinwa, made the disclosure on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. George Ossi, at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN), in Abuja.

Ossi said: "The ministry and government at large will be counting on your widely acclaimed expertise in cost management of construction projects and infrastructure to put the country back on the right track to sustainable growth and development."

The Permanent Secretary, challenged the QS practitioners to leverage on their professional expertise to promote resource optimization and value maximization in construction project implementation.

He said the conference theme: Strategic options for the Nigerian Quantity Surveyor provides an opportunity for the body not only to keep its members abreast with the rapidly expanding knowledge frontiers in the profession, but also for them to examine the strategic options available to serve the country in the most optimal fashion in decades ahead.

In a remark, the President, QSRBN, Mr. Hussaini Dikko, said, the conference will strive towards promoting probity, accountability, efficient resource management, due process and corporate governance as part of its contribution towards the fight against corruption in the society.

He said studies have shown that cost of construction of projects in Nigeria is highest in Africa, blaming it on corruption and lack of adherence to due process policies by agencies of government.

He admitted that the country is currently being ravaged by corruption, adding that the society will appreciate the quantity surveying practice if it can provide the expertise that will win the war against corruption.

Dikko said: "Integrity must be our watchword as quantity surveyors. We must not only preach it, we must live it.

"We must use the profession as a standard of what is right and honourable."

The QSRBN boss, urged the QS members, to engage in continuous learning and knowledge upgrade to be able to appropriate the opportunities that the next two decades will throw up in the profession and the challenges that will come with it.

 

Source: ThisDay

Yobe to Complete Trans-Sahara Roads

Published in Infrastructure
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 00:00

As part of efforts to enhance economy, the Yobe State Government has spread its tentacles to neighbouring Niger Republic in a drive that is aimed at "cementing cordial and diplomatic relationship" with the neighbouring country and development of border communities in northern part of the state.

This was disclosed by Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam's Director of Press Affairs to at the Government House n Damaturu, the state capital during an interactive session with newsmen.

He said the completed Trans-Saharan road project, which covered a total distance of over 300 kilometres would also facilitate commercial activities between Yobe state and its West African neighbouring countries.

His words: "This international road that cuts across the desert in eight council areas of Yobe state will also serve over 200 communities engaged in farming, livestock rearing, fishing and other economic activities in some of the oasis that the people rely on for some of their basic needs of life.

"The trans-saharan road project also links four council headquarters of Geidam, Yusufari, Yunusari, Karasuwa and Machina, a border town with Niger Republic."

Bego also added; "Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has built more roads than the total number of roads built since the State was created back in 1999. From; Potikum to Garin Alkali; Kaliyari-Bayamari-Gaidam; Bayamari-Yunusari; Gaidam-Bukarti; Maiduwa-Gadaka; Potiskum-Danchuwa; Jajimaji-Karasuwa. All these are roads built by Governor Ibrahim Gaidam.

"We have also many road projects that are currently ongoing, despite the prevailing economic and security challenges. From Damaturu-Buni-Yadi Madgza road which is 70 kilometres long; Gadaka-Siminti-Godowoli.

"There were also a slew of roads and drainages built by Governor Gaidam in Damaturu, Potiskum, Gashu'a, Nguru and Gaidam - our major towns and, as the Governor has promised, more towns, such as Dapchi headquarters of Bursari LG, will come on stream going forward.

"All these were done in the Governor's first term in office (May, 2011-2015). All these projects are verifiable on the ground."

 

Source: Daily Independent

Building Collapses in Lekki, Traps Six

Published in Environment
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 00:00

A two-storey building under construction collapsed in Lekki area of Lagos yesterday, trapping at least six people.

Two persons were rescued minutes after the collapse and rushed to hospital, but the actual number of those trapped was uncertain at press time. The building located at No. 37 Agungi, Ajiran Road, opposite Obafemi Olatunji Street, Lekki, caved in around 6:45am.

Neither the contractor nor the owner of the house could be reached. Some alleged that the contractor fled when news of the collapse got to him. It is was gathered that among those trapped were labourers and food sellers. Their voices were still being heard late yesterday as rescue workers battled to save them.

NEMA South-West spokesman, Ibrahim Farinloye, said two persons were rescued from the rubble. It was gathered that the owner was developing three buildings of two-storeys each in the same compound but LASEMA General Manager, Michael Akindele, said the building had earlier been marked by the Lagos Building Control Agency (LASBCA) on August 16 and ordered the developer to stop work as the development was illegal. He said the search would continue till late night yesterday as more emergency workers had mobilised to join in the rescue effort.

The police, Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), fire service and other rescue agencies intensified work at the scene yesterday.

 

Source: DailyTrust

How to Improve Cement Production - BUA

Published in Materials
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 00:00

Chairman of BUA Group and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (in which BUA Cement holds a majority stake), Abdulsamad Rabiu, has said the ongoing resuscitation of the nation's local refineries has continued to boost local production in the industrial sector.

Specifically, Rabiu in a statement said the resuscitation effort has already led to increased supply of LPFO (Low Pour Fuel Oil) to its Sokoto cement plant, therefore leading to efficient capacity utilisation in the plant.

He explained that the Federal Government has further reduced the price of LFPO from around N77.94 per litre to N51.38 per litre in an apparent move to boost local industries, adding that the company's effort had been slowed down over the years due to infrastructural challenges including erratic supply of fuel oil to the plant.

With the recent appointment of the new GMD for NNPC by the Buhari-led government, we are however beginning to see the impact of improved production at the refineries. Last year, CCNN spent about N7billion on fuel oil alone. However, this welcome development will bring about improved, cost-effective production and efficient capacity utilization at Sokoto Cement which should further engender a sustainable pricing regime that will make cement more affordable in the North Western region in the medium term", he said.

Abdulsamad Rabiu further added that the moves of the current administration to ensure optimal operations at the nation's refineries will rejuvenate moribund industries.

For instance, access to cheaper fuels associated with increased production at the refineries is already stimulating the rejuvenation of key industries including textiles and manufacturing in the North. I believe this effect will be replicated across the nation where certain industries are dependent on the refineries as their primary sources of fuel," Rabiu added.

On the new line currently being added by BUA Group in Sokoto, Rabiu stated that at $300million, the project is currently the single largest private investment in the North West region.

He said BUA Cement was committed to ensuring the timely completion of the project in2016 which is expected to add an additional 1.5million tonnes per annum to CCNN's current 500,000tpa capacity as part of the group's Cement Strategy for Nigeria, adding that though, the additional line will come with Coal as the primary source of fuel, LPFO will still be used as a backup fuel at the plant.

"To further consolidate our position as a major player, we will continue to pursue our mid-term cement expansion strategy vigorously and are currently exploring opportunities for further expansion especially in Nigeria," added Rabiu.

 

Source: TheGuardian

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has said it is yet to determine the number of casualties in Tuesday's building collapse in Lekki area of the state, just as it disclosed that the contractors handling the project were ordered to stop work on the site but defied the order and carried on with constructions until the tragedy occurred.

General Manager of the agency, Michael Akindele, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he could not put a figure on the number of people involved in the accident.

The building was located at 37 Agungi/Ajiran Road, Osapa London, Lekki, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.

"As l speak, l cannot ascertain whether there is anybody trapped, dead or alive, until when we conclude the search and rescue mission.

"For now, we are still on rescue mission to ensure that there is no life under the debris.

"Until we get to the zero level, before we can make any further pronouncement,"

He, noted that the projects were suspect, and the agency would investigate the circumstances surrounding the collapse.

"As at August 11, the three buildings under construction here were marked by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) and the contractors served appropriately to stop construction.

"This collapse is out of defiance; however, necessary investigations will be done by appropriate agency after which it will act appropriately."

 

Source: Daily Independent

Road Maintenance - Govt's N522 Billion Debts to States

Published in Innovation
Thursday, 24 September 2015 00:00

Politics Of State And Federal Roads

The issue of repairing and maintaining federal roads in the country have elicited series of debates as to why the roads, despite the huge amount of money being claimed to have been spent on repairing and maintaining them, they are still in dilapidated conditions.

Former Minister of Works in the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, Arch Mike Onolememe, had in an interview in one of the national dailies given an insight on the deplorable situation of Nigerian roads and what and how the then government was trying to fix the roads.

He explained that in terms of relationship between states and the Federal Government, most especially Lagos State, "Don't forget that Lagos was the capital of Nigeria for many years, and that is the state where the Federal Government has the highest number of roads. Remove federal roads from Lagos, what is left?

"Is it the Ikorodu Expressway, the Third Mainland Bridge, the Oworoshoki-Apapa Road, Hebert Macaulay Road or Marina Road? All these are federal roads, so you now find that many of the major federal roads in Lagos have over the years been maintained. I give it to the Lagos State government; they also do their bit because it serves their people.

"When we had the Council of Works meeting in Lagos in 2012, one of our resolutions at that meeting was that we now want to create a radius around state capital or cities where federal roads traverse. Federal roads basically ought to connect one state to another, so we are now experimenting with the issue of creating bypasses so that we are not brought into the issue of urban alignment because it is not Federal Government's responsibility to provide urban alignment that would provide access to building and businesses.

"The Federal Government doesn't collect taxes from those people. So it is the state government that collects those taxes, so they should be able to fix those roads.

And if you look at the politics of state and federal roads, you will find out that particularly during the military regime, state governments surrendered most of these roads to the Federal Government. So the Federal Government reluctantly assumed ownership of some of them, and we know these roads in question.

"If you go into the Federal Highways Act, you will see the real federal roads because they are there. Legally speaking, any road that has not been gazetted as a federal road cannot really claim to be such because every federal road has a route number, and all the federal roads with route numbers are contained as appendixes in the schedule under the Federal Highways Act of 1971.

"During the regime of the late President Yar'Adua, the Federal Government in its wisdom approved the guidelines for intervention by state governments on federal roads. And these guidelines are very clear; if you are a state government, you must write to the Federal Government, in fact to the President telling him that you want to carry out repairs of so and so road. Or you could write to the Minister of Works, who will, in turn, inform the President.

"The request is evaluated, and if the road is of economic significance, and it truly connects one state to the other, more often than not, it is recommended that the President give approval for intervention by the state government.

"Once such approval is granted, all the procurement processes must be in line with the Public Procurement Act at the federal level. After award of the contract, staff of the Federal Ministry of Works domiciled in that state must be part of the supervision of the project. Once a state meets these guidelines, we, as federal take responsibility for refund.

"But what you see is that, most times, some state governors just wake up, and they give contracts without our knowledge and without following the guidelines. They then go to the media to say the Federal Government owes them so much billions of naira. It is akin to having a house which you gave to a tenant; one day you travelled and returned and the tenant slams you with a hefty bill that he has done renovation in the house, and he wants you to refund N15 billion. How will you react?

"Without your consent as the landlord, a tenant should not go into that kind of thing. We at the federal level also have a budget, and we need to plan for our road development. If such a project is part of our plan, why not? There have been a number of state governments we have refunded money to in the past, like Ekiti State Government.

"In November last year, about N8billion was paid out to a number of state governments as refund for roads repairs under the Goodluck Jonathan regime. So it is an ongoing thing, but this is for state governments that comply with the guidelines. If you investigate, many of the states crying foul in the request for money are people who just did streets, urban alignments that have no bearing with the interstate traffic.

"These are the challenges; we are looking into the matter by engaging with the states, and we believe that we should be able to work together, once due process is followed based on the guidelines," he explained.

FERMA's Quick-Fix Efforts

He also said that the administration did so much to enhance the operations of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) for them to be able to move swiftly and fix roads that need patching within their arears.

"We have been able to buy about 42 FK Beckham Road Patchers for FERMA and their staff are being trained, such that they can deploy to any part within their state to patch roads. This will help us do away with the practice of cutting roads and leaving them for weeks or months, a thing that has led to untimely deaths, through accidents in the past.

Also, he opined that President Jonathan, in late 2011, approved that 500 young Nigerian engineers be employed in the Federal Ministry of Works.

On Kano-Kaduna and Kano-Maiduguri roads, he noted that there is the need for effective culture of maintenance.

"If you look at the design of Kano-Kaduna Road, it was to last for 25 years; after the 25 years, a major rehabilitation ought to have taken place. But what has happened in our system is that we have not had enough budgetary provision for us to maintain that road the way it ought to have been maintained because, at that point, we are supposed to remove the entire wearing course, stabilise the base course and do complete asphalt overlay.

We have not been able to do that because of the cost. Ask yourself, how much is budgeted for road works in Nigeria? For a road network of 35,000km, sometimes we receive as little as N60 to N70 billion. For years, the military did not even budget up to N10 billion for those roads.

"You can compare our situation with little countries like Zambia, which has a total road network of 7,000km. But if you go to Zambia, you will find that they spend, on the average, about 1billion USD yearly on their roads. But here we are with about 35,000km, which is five times the road network of Zambia, and we are not able to spend 50 percent of what Zambians are spending on their roads. So if you look at that, it gives you a graphic picture of why we are where we are.

"The Kano-Maiduguri Road was not awarded by the Sani Abacha administration. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the dualisation in 2006. Unfortunately, if you look at the history, between 2006 and 2009, you will find out that there was no much progress on the road. In some sections, we couldn't even pay compensation and the contractor did not have access to site.

A case in point is in the Kano to Wudil section. It was when we came on board that we paid compensation before we were able to open the right of way to the contractor to commence work. But for the SURE P enhanced funding, that road would have been still far from the level we have achieved".

PPP And Toll Gates Option

On the Public Private Sector Partnership (PPP) and the possible reintroduction of toll gates on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway he said his Ministry had decided that it is the only economical routes on which private sector resources have been deployed in completing the long stretch of roads and so the reintroduction of toll plazas, was inevitable. "Tolling is part of international best practice because when you borrow money from the private sector to do an infrastructural project, the project itself should pay back.

"That is why we do the outline and final business case studies, which have all proved that Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is a viable road, and that, based on traffic flow on the road, investors would be able to recoup their investments. It is in line with international best practice, and one of the things we need to do in order to guarantee sustainable maintenance of our federal highways across the country.

"This is not new in Nigeria; even in those days, when government had to use its funds to carry out major dual carriage way projects, at the end of the projects, they put in place toll plazas, at least to guarantee the maintenance of those roads, even if it was not geared towards recouping the investment.

On the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), and the possibility of creating jobs for millions of unemployed Nigerians, the Minister said FERMA has been in existence since about 2002 and, in 2005, the law was revised. "As we know it, FERMA has a direct labour unit component, where quite a number of Nigerians have been employed within the past one year, under SURE-P. In every local government, we have people who now work directly for FERMA for the maintenance of roads, and road shoulders.

"However, these crews are not trained enough to embark on major maintenance works in terms of stretches of failed portions of federal roads where asphalt overlay is needed. But we intend to develop capacity in FERMA to such an extent that in the not too distant time, FERMA operatives would be able to do all of that. That is why are establishing asphalt plants for FERMA on zonal basis, and we are also equipping them.

On federal roads, which were once very good but now in various stages of disrepair, which includes the Benin-Asaba Road and the possibility of tolling all federal highways to generate money for their maintenance, the former Minister of Works had this to say: "The Federal Government cannot have such a policy to charge tolls on all federal roads for very obvious reasons. Government itself has a social responsibility to the people. A road network serves two purposes, first as an artery to support economic activities, like hauling tons of cement, iron billets, bitumen and other different articles.

"These are strictly economic activities; a road is expected to also serve social activities, that is for social and national integration among different sections of the country, so government has that responsibility, and as such cannot toll every road. However, we also believe that what government is doing by establishing tolls on all roads on which private sector funds have been expended is a good way of arresting some of these problems.

"I say so because if we are able to get the arterial routes right, and they are now able to fend for themselves and pay for their own maintenance, government resources will be freer to handle those other road projects that have social impacts in terms of national integration.

 

Source: Daily Independent

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, of Delta State, has assured that the government would construct the internal roads in Ode-Itsekiri community, Warri South Local Government Area of the state before the installation of the new Olu of Warri.

This came as Olu designate, Godfrey Ikenwoli Emiko, assured Muslims and other religious adherents followers in Delta State of a hospitable stay throughout his reign.

Speaking, in Asaba when members of the Warri Traditional Council came to officially inform him of the demise of the Olu of Warri, Okowa said: "l have met with Setraco Construction Company as regards the construction of the internal roads in Ode- ltsekiri but the cost they gave is high.

"We will negotiate with them and see how we can construct the roads within available resources. I congratulate the kingdom because you have been able to follow tradition and elected an Olu designate, we will be with you in the process of the final burial of the late Olu and the installation of the new one. The late Olu has taken the kingdom to a status where the throne is respected in the country."

He assured the communities in the state of government's readiness to partner with them to ensure even development and prosperity for all Deltans, urging community leaders to sustain the peace in their respective communities by shunning acts that could promote acrimony.

Earlier, Chief Issac Jemide, who led the delegation, said the essence of their visit was to officially inform the governor of the death of the Olu of Warri, and to also inform him that an Olu designate had been elected.

Jemide said: "We will keep you posted from time to time of the arrangements we are making towards his burial and will need your support."

Meanwhile, the Olu of Warri Kingdom designate, Godfrey Ikenwoli Emiko, has assured Muslims and other religious followers in Delta State of his cooperation and a hospitable stay throughout his reign.

The Olu Designate gave the assurance yesterday when Muslims drawn from the 25 local government areas in Delta State paid him homage in Warri as part of the Eid-ed-Kabir celebration.

Speaking on behalf of the Olu designate, Prince Yemi Emiko, said "I want to assure you that in this Kingdom, Muslims are welcome as well as other religion and it is true that you are the first group to come.

"It is true that the foundation of the mosque was actually laid by our grandfather, Ginuwa II. You could even see that the first son of the Olu Designate is also a Muslim. We believe that this time around, all religion we are serving one God irrespective of the name we call."

Earlier, Chairman of the Delta State Muslims, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, hailed the emergence of the Olu designate just as he assured him of Muslims resolve to support his reign in Warri Kingdom.

While noting that Islam was a peaceful religion, Alhaji Unagha, disabused the minds of the Olu designate who was flanked by some members of the Warri Council of Chief saying, "Islam is all about peace. Where it not, if truly that Islam is a religion of crisis or associated with Boko Haram you would have heard that Muslims are fighting in every area of Warri but I do know that there is no muslim fighting each other. No Muslim is fighting any Itsekiri person or any of your subjects.

 

Source: Vanguard

'Poor Projects' Handling Stalled 8,000MW Power Target'

Published in Critique
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:00

The Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Dr Sam Amadi has pointed out that part of the challenge besetting the power sector is really to do with project performance management.

Dr Amadi said this at the Commission in Abuja during a two day workshop with Industry Performance Management officers of Generation and Transmission Companies.

He said, "If we have delivered all the NIPP projects, the capacity of existing generation companies, we would have been doing over 8,000mw today. We need to develop the skills to project and deliver."

He said that the need to take the sector to an amiable height that could stand international reckoning makes it imperative to build a team of performance management officers, who would both monitor and report to NERC.

"Because we have had ineffective project management in the past we couldn't achieve it. If the privatized plants were running close to 80percent of their installed capacity we would have been a different country today," Amadi said.

The workshop provided a template for effective performance management for the industry.

On improving the distribution networks capacity, Amadi said, "Our strategy is to keep increasing the network and providing commercial incentive for Discos to take all the power they can take. With the removal of imbalance penalty Discos have no commercial reason not to take more power."

 

Source: DailyTrust

Rescuers, mainly neighbours and members of Mercy Land Church, yesterday, pulled out seven persons from the debris of collapsed wing of Makaval Hotel located off Refinery Road, Effurun, in Delta State.

Medical officials at nearby Divine Grace Hospital, where the wounded victims were admitted for medical attention, said it was too early to allow visits and talks with the patients as a result of injuries and shock suffered in the mishap.

Akpoguma Davis, a landlord in an adjacent building, who witnessed it all, said: "At about 3am, my dogs were barking seriously, so I came out not knowing they were reacting to the noisy cracks from the first vibration.

"I took torch and went round, wondering if there were robbers lurking. After three minutes, this whole wing of the building collapsed. About seven persons have been rescued alive. I heard one woman shouting 'I am Mercy Land visitor, help me. We got her out after four hours."

Benjamin Hosu, 51, from Lagos, said: "I and a colleague came to town to execute a project yesterday. We were lodged in the first floor. Around 3.10am, we heard noise and thought they were armed robbers.

"Suddenly, our room went down to the floor. Some rescuers came out with torch lights as we shouted for help. They started breaking in till they got us out. We have been to the hospital, checked and confirmed okay."

When Vanguard reached the scene, rescue efforts were on to pull out a pregnant woman trapped in the building, after she had shouted for help.

The rescuers got to her by 10am, and pulled her out to the waiting arms of her father, a Bayelsan, simply identified as Gambia, who whisked her out immediately, while declining press comment.

Ayo Ameye, a neighbour who participated in the rescue operation, said: "More persons could still be in there. A man on the other side has been in contact on his phone. The phone probably ran out on battery because we have not been able to hear from him any more. The line went dead."

When Vanguard was leaving the scene, two excavators provided by the Mercy Land, host to most of the guests lodged at the hotel, were seen still clearing debris, hoping to rescue more of the trapped victims.

None of the hotel staff present was ready to speak on the situation, but early callers at the scene said they had indicated that only seven persons were lodged in there, but it was gathered that the number could be more as some lodgers had companions with them.

Meanwhile, the state government yesterday shut the hotel to ensure protection of lives and properties.

The Deputy Governor, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro,who gave the directive when he spoke to Vanguard shortly after visiting the collapsed building, said the hotel remained shut until an integrity test was conducted by certified engineers to ascertain the cause of the collapse of the twin storey building.

While noting that officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and the Red Cross were on ground to rescue trapped victims in the collapsed building, Otuaro promised that the state government would take responsibility for hospital bills of the injured victims.

 

Source: Vanguard

The Kwara State House of Assembly has stopped the construction of new petrol stations in the state capital. The Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad, who gave the directive suspending the project, said the adhoc committee constituted to investigate the matter discovered that laws guiding the establishment of petrol stations are being violated.

He said the Assembly will not fold its arms and watch the lives and property of people being threatened by a few individuals "who are selfish and desperate to make money".

The lawmakers also ordered operators of illegal filling stations in Ilorin metropolis to appear before them. The stations were summoned for failing to secure necessary approval. Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Barrister Kamaldeen Fagbemi, lamented what he called the indiscriminate construction of filling stations in residential areas, saying the action is dangerous. The lawmakers said fair hearing will be given to all parties concerned before a definite position is taken on the matter.

 

Source: DailyTrust

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