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Fashola charges building experts to embrace new technologies

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has told construction experts to embrace new technologies, to build smart cities in Nigeria.

Fashola, represented by the Federal Controller of Housing in Lagos State, Mrs. Sarah Alawode, made the call at the Fifth Construction Industry Hall of Fame Lecture/Induction in Lagos on Friday.

The lecture, organised by Construction and Engineering Digest (CED) Magazine had the theme: “Accelerating Wide-Scale Technology and Innovation Adoption in Energy Market and Implementing Digital Disruption, Capacity Building in the Environment’’.

The minister said the nation was “in dire need of professionals who will take up the challenge to bring innovative solutions to provide shelter for our people and the supporting amenities to improve our way of life.

“The challenges of the 21st century requires professionals to develop sustainable cities and communities, while conserving resources and protecting the environment.’’

Fashola said that the ministry in partnership with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme and a foreign firm had developed the Nigerian Building Energy-Efficient Code, which sets standards for various stages of building construction.

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He said that buildings that were energy efficient had the potential for mass job creation while achieving up to 40 per cent savings in energy consumption and operational costs.

“The Federal Government is tackling the challenges of the 17 million housing deficit in the nation with ongoing projects in all states of the nation, except Lagos that is yet to provide land for its scheme.

“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari initiated nationwide housing construction under the National Housing Programme to bridge this gap and grant public access to affordable housing,’’ he said.

The minister said further that the ministry was also undertaking various projects, including building schools, hospitals and other infrastructure and amenities in various healthcare and educational institutions.

He added that road and drainage constructions were also going on across the nation.

Fashola commended the organisers of the biennial event, noting that it was setting the agenda for policy formulation and implementation, while tasking building professionals to uphold professional ethics.

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A former President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Otis Anyaeji, lamented the critical infrastructure deficit plaguing the nation.

He said that Nigerian roads had millions of potholes nationwide, a non-existent situation in the past, adding that globally computerisation had taken over through the use of artificial intelligence.

Anyaeji said that in medicine, robots were undertaking complex surgeries, whereas Nigeria was still carrying out open surgeries.

The NSE chief listed power generation and nuclear energy as other areas in which other nations were deploying technology that Nigeria needed to explore.

Delivering his speech, Mr. Kenneth Odusola-Stephenson, Managing Director of CED Magazine, lamented that Chinese prisoners were the ones building Nigeria’s infrastructure, sidelining Nigerian professionals.

He said that the event was a platform created to share ideas on how to grow Nigeria’s infrastructure.

“I think it is about time we should start talking about Nigeria first,’’ he said. (NAN)