By Ayodele Olalere
Lagos-Nigeira-The National President, Association of Building Consultants and Artisans of Nigeria (ASBAN), Jimmy Oshinubi, have attributed incessant cases of building collapse to cheap labour and incompetent artisans in the building sector.
While addressing participants and exhibitors at the Door, Window, Glass, Aluminium and Façade Exhibition (DoWin), held in Lagos at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoris Island, Oshinubi said many artisans who are contracted in building construction have outdated experiences and therefore are not in tune with the latest building techniques.
“As an association set up to monitor the activities of artisans in the building sector, we have found out many artisans do whatever they like. There has been complaint from general public that artisans are not qualified, that they have outdated experiences. Some of them have learnt these trades for the past 30years and their experiences are outdated. What they learnt those days when they learnt the trade is different from what is happening today so we have to update their experiences,” Oshinubi said.
He added: “We have been experiencing a lot of building collapses in Nigeria and when these things happen, it falls back on the artisans. But the public forgets that most of the building owners pick their artisans on the road. If you go to Iyana-Ipaja, you see artisans lying there so when you pick them and they do shoddy jobs for you, you don’t n come back to us and say artisans are incompetent. The Togolese and Beninese artisans in Nigeria are very cheap because an average artisan in Nigeria will not collect less than N5, 000 a day but these foreigners are ready to collect N2, 000 because by the time they convert to their currency, it is a lot of money.”
To address the situation, Oshinubi said the association has embarked on ‘ retraining our members regularly with new ideas coming up in the building sector,’ and urged government to do more in encouraging youths to learn ‘handwork by giving construction jobs to local contractors and paying them well rather than allowing youths to ride commercial motorcycles.’
“We assess the competence of our members by giving them jobs to do. There are some who can only handle jobs of N500, 000 and there are those who can handle jobs worth N1million and above.
If we don’t encourage the youths to come into learning trade, these trades will be vanishing and that is why we are trying to encourage them. Government gives job to foreigners to do but we don’t want that.
“Let us encourage the youths to learn these trades and if they are not paid well, they will not want to learn it. We have been educating the youths on why they need to have handwork rather than riding commercial motorcycles.
We have been discussing with the government to patronize us in youth empowerment. In Europe, plumbers earn $75 per hour but here in Nigeria, a plumber is paid N3, 000 per day so we are trying to see how we can increase their income,” Oshinubi said.
He lamented that government is not paying adequate attention to the plight of artisans.
“The government is not forthcoming to our rescue. When they have projects, they prefer to give it to a hairdresser who is a member of the party who in turn contract it to a contractor, who also look for artisans to do the job. At the end a project of N10million comes to the executor for N4million and that is why we have shabby jobs. We pray they listen to us.
Like the block makers, a lot of them pack sands from the rivers to make block and that will not work. What they will produce will be very cheap. Up till now, Nigerians believe in cheap products and this is not too good,” he said.