The Federal government on Wednesday said it would soon assemble all relevant stakeholders in the building and construction sector to test the integrity of all major bridges and buildings across the country.
The minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji made the assertion during a facility visit to the Abuja office of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) in Abuja.
He said the exercise became necessary as one of the strategies to address the growing menace of building and bridge collapse across the country.
“NIBRRI is a strategic agency in our national pursuit of innovation, sustainable developments, and infrastructure excellence.
“NBRRI, as one of the foremost agencies in the Ministry, presents enormous promise for the success of the renewed hope agenda of our dear President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, notably in the areas of infrastructure, wealth creation, employment generation, and enhancing the quality of life for all Nigerians.
“This maiden visit offers me a remarkable opportunity to witness firsthand the groundbreaking work within these walls.
“The collapse of buildings and bridges is not merely a matter of structural failure; it is a grave social, economic, and safety concern that demands our immediate and unwavering attention.
We shall soon reach out to and partner with other stakeholders and relevant professional bodies, particularly in engineering, for the integrity testing of all major bridges and buildings across the country.”
He urged NBRRI not to rest on its oars but strive more towards addressing other critical issues, begging for solutions in the road and building sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“Your mission to drive advancements in construction, road infrastructure, and building technologies aligns with our President’s vision for a modern, prosperous, and technologically driven Nigeria.
“It is also heartwarming to learn that NBRRI has substantially implemented Executive Order #5 and other essential policies of science, technology, and innovation in Nigeria.
“As you know, our Ministry places a significant premium on Executive Order #5 to set our country on viable and sustainable economic growth and rapid transformation using Science, Technology, and Innovation instruments and platforms.
“Therefore, your disposition to noticeably implement Executive Order #5 reinforces NBRRI’s leadership role in Research and (R&D) for our nation’s overall growth and development.”
Responding to appeals to address NBRRI’s challenges regarding the Institute’s Mandate, recruiting highly skilled research officers to drive the Institute, and low funding, he assured them that he would use his good office and every other means available to address them and to push for President’s assent to the NBRRI Bill to enable its full use.
On the challenge of recruiting highly skilled research officers to drive the Institute, the minister said he would support the Institute in this area by assisting in getting the needed approval to meet the gap in the staff strength.
“Although poor funding is understandably a challenge, I will also take it up with relevant authorities to improve available funding levels, especially low overhead, and to cover the expenses of the Zonal offices in all the geopolitical zones,” he added.
He commend the management of the Institute for their efforts toward repositioning NBRRI and making it a global research center which will be the pride of every Nigerian consistent with the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.
Earlier, the Director General of NIBRRI, Prof Sampson Duna said the reason why accidents occur often on most roads is because of potholes occasioned by poor quality of work by contractors.
According to the DG, the integrity.of most roads and bridges in Nigeria are questionable.
To address the menace, he said NIBRRI had always dispatched a crack team of investigators to ascertain causes of building and road collapse in the country but lacks the power to prosecute the perpetrators because their mandate does not allow them to arrest anybody.
“We are, however, optimistic that this visit will open up new vistas of formidable working relationship with our parent Ministry. We believe your presence will yield unquantifiable benefits.”
He informed the minister that NBRRI has been engaging in some R&D outputs such as: NBRRI Dismountable House (NDH); NBRRI Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB): NBRRI Pozzolana; Bamboo as Reinforcement; Rubberized Asphalt Mat for Road Maintenance (RAM); Natural Bitumen Mix Design Specification Development for Road Construction; NBRRI Fancy Facing Tile;
NBRRI Paving Stones Making Machine and NBRRI Testing Laboratories/Equipment.
He however, appealed to the minister to assist the agency in acquiring Institutional Land at the Federal Capital Territory to be used as NBRRI Technology Village for display and utilization of our various R&D outputs.
“We have made several attempts in the past, but our efforts had not been fruitful. We are hopeful that you will be able to assist in this regards,” he said.
High point of the visit was your of NIBRRI building and construction facilities within the premises.