Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said that the National Assembly would want more participation of Nigerian professionals in the design and execution of projects in the country.
Sen. Lawan made the remarks at the 2021 Architecture Annual Award and Fellowship Investiture of the Nigerian Institute of Architects which held, late Wednesday, in Abuja.
Sen. Lawan was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award along the Governor of Taraba State, Architect Darius Ishaku while the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum was among the recipients of Honorary Fellow of the Institute.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Sen. Lawan expressed gratitude to members of the Institute who he described as the “designers of the world.”
He said despite the relevance of Architects in making the environment a comfortable place, they were yet to be accorded their rightful place in the country.
Said he, “I believe the architects have not been given their rightful place. In the National Assembly, from this time on, you have Distinguished Architects.
“And our starting point will be that we will look into possible legislations to actualise the dreams of Mr President of getting local contents considered very well in Nigeria.
“My brother, the Governor of Borno State alluded to it when he said we must utilise our indigenous professionals and of course, we must also be creative enough just like my brother, the Governor of Taraba State said, look into how to utilise our local materials.
“Certainly, Executive Order 5 which Mr President signed means a lot and that explains deeply the feelings of this administration, that our professionals here in Nigeria must be involved in everything that we do in this country as far as it is possible. We will insist on that.
“Incidentally, your President is a Permanent Secretary. So your first assignment will be, when you go to defend your budget before the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, you will come to us with a very clearly defined provisions on how Nigerian architects and other professionals will be included in participation in your projects.
“And we all know that Nigerian professionals are highly skilled, highly competent. They deserve to be involved not only in Nigerian environment but also in any other environment outside the country. We are proud of Nigerian professionals who have gone out to do so much but they have left here.
“So, we want to see more and more participation of Nigerian professionals particularly our architects in how we continue to build the modern Nigeria.
“I believe that Nigeria can do well with it’s indigenous professionals with the cheaper and less resources.
“Given our challenges, our revenue generation and collection and the need to be prudent, to be efficient and effective in the deployment of resources, we must look inward.
“What one individual who come from outside, calling himself or herself an architect from God knows which country will collect, will be enough to engage more of our indigenous architects and of course, boost that professionalism that is required to be achieved through practice.
“So, we are going to insist that this country does not use its resources by getting people from outside of this country for services that our professionals in Nigeria can give and give very well at a lesser cost.”
The Senate President advocated legislative interventions to halt cases of building collapse:
He continued, “I believe that the building collapse that we experience in our major cities particularly, needs the attention of the National Assembly.
“We must make it mandatory for certain procedures and processes to be respected and obeyed so that our building will not collapse easily.
“Probably we have been infiltrated by quacks. People who have no proper training in all these professions whether architecture or surveying or building and so on and yet they participate in the building processes.
“We want to see how we can stop such people from participating in the building and construction industry and this time around, we should be going for legislations so that appropriate incentives will be provided and appropriate penalties will also be provided for failures or infractions of the law,” Sen. Lawan said.