NSE, Akwa Ibom Govt Partner For Sustainable Infrastructural Development
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley |
As part of efforts to revolutionize and reposition the standard of engineering practices for the overall development of the State in line with the 5-point agenda of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Uyo Branch, has partnered with the Akwa Ibom State Government for sustainable infrastructural development.
Speaking on Thursday, 14th February 2019 during a courtesy call on the office of Commissioner for Lands and Town Planning, Arc. Ime Ekpo at the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, the Chairman of NSE, Uyo Branch, Engr. James Amiang, FNSE, FNICE, said the visit was to seek partnership with the state government to foster ways of ending the devastating flood and incidents of building collapse in the state.
He said before the advent of the present administration of Deacon Udom Emmanuel, many parts of the capital city and other locations across the state suffered the devastation of flood water occasioned by the uncontrolled or unapproved development of structures in those areas.
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Engr. Amiang however recognized and commended the honest efforts of the present government in fulfilling its “Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion” promises, towards the economic and industrial development of Akwa Ibom State.
He said: “While the activities of unapproved development continues on a daily basis, NSE, Uyo Branch observes with keen interest, the rapid urbanization of Uyo and other parts of the State as a result of both intra and inter states migration at an alarming geometric increase, which calls for a comprehensive review of the Master plan of Akwa Ibom State with a critical look at that of Uyo Capital City.
“This urgent situation calls for a comprehensive review of the Masterplan of Akwa Ibom State (with a critical look at that of Uyo Capital City), coordinated and published by a special body or Technical Committee comprising of wholly local professionals, not international or foreign professionals who are not resident in the State, set up by the State Government to carry out a comprehensive analysis of life, development imperatives, challenges and opportunities within the state ranging from demography, environment, hydrology, biodiversity, natural resources and finances instruments among other salient issues, should be subjected to a detailed and independent review by such Body or Technical Committee, and critical aspects of the main Masterplan produced before the advent of the former Governor, Arc. Victor Attah’s administration, considered such that, a large portion of the vision of our forebears could be translated into reality.”
Engr. Amiang further stated that when incidents of building collapse occur, tongues begin to wag and questions arise as to whether approval was sought and obtained by the developer(s) from various Area Planning Authorities including Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) and the Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company Limited (APICO), and all eyes focused in the direction of the Ministry of Lands and Town Planning for further clarifications.
He said the current practice of obtaining approval for the construction of buildings specifically reinforced concrete structures, allows the client or developer to employ the services of the Architect and Engineers to prepare the various drawings for onward submission to UCCDA and Area Planning Authorities across the length and breadth of Akwa Ibom State, which in turn grants the approval.
According to him, that always seems to be the end of the process, adding, “The critical phase of supervision of the projects by professionals to translate the approved designs into reality by strict adherence to quantities and specifications, are now left in the hands of the clients or developers who, for economic reasons, depends on the advice of Artisans to unprofessionally execute the designs without consideration for safety and reliability.
He stated that in recent times, the collapse of buildings that have occurred across the landscape of Nigeria (Reigners Bible Church inclusive) have been mostly attributed to the use of quacks to carry out the execution, relocation of certain structural elements, construction of additional floors not considered in the original design, alteration of the design, etc, which is when the process of collapse begins.
Engr. Amiang disclosed that the challenge is that unethical practices are allowed to continue unabated because there are no strict enforcement of “Stage Approvals” as well as follow-up from professionals employed by the various Planning Authorities including UCCDA to ensure compliance, adding that the lack of follow-up may be attributed to shortage, lack of qualified professionals staff or funds to implement this critical phase in the building industry.
He requested for allocation of a plot of land within the Central Business District for the construction of the proposed UYO ENGINEERING CENTER for the promotion of Engineering Excellence, and expressed the belief that the presence of an Engineering Centre in Uyo will go a long way in boosting and promoting the Industrial and Infrastructural revolution policies and programmes of the present administration.
Responding, the Commissioner for Lands and Town Planning, Arc. Ime Ekpo, thanked the engineers for the honour done him and reiterated the commitment of the state government to engage the services of the engineers and accommodate them in the state for the purpose of erosion and flood control in the state, saying that before the advent of this administration, tricycle operators usually take their tricycles to wash at the hitherto flood area at Nsikak Eduok Avenue whenever it rains, but that is history now.
He maintained that a lot of money has been expended on the area in channeling the rain water from Nsikak Eduok to the Ibesikpo ravine, and that plans are ongoing to put an end to the flood at IBB Avenue hopefully before the next rainy season.
Arc. Ekpo charged the engineers to always ensure they maintain their standard of practice without compromise by insisting on carrying out the supervision of their designs of any structure before appending their signature and approval on the drawings.
He hinted that the 2019 budget of Governor Udom Emmanuel has provision for the review and update of the Uyo master plan and other urban centers, which has been outdated for years, adding that the government is in the process of having an automated land registry where every information about the state including where there is mineral resources, would be accessed at ease.
The Commissioner also promised to allocate a land for the NSE Uyo branch to site her proposed UYO ENGINEERING CENTER for the promotion of Engineering Excellence.
Present at the occasion were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Pastor Praise Okon; Vice Chairman, NSE, Uyo Branch, Engr. Ukeme Okpob, MNSE; Engr. Ndifreke Ben, MNSE, General Secretary; Engr. Victor Okon, MNSE, Assistant General Secretary; Engr. Ikemesit Orok, MNSE, Treasurer; and Chief Engr. Benjamin Ekanem, FNSE (Immediate Past Chairman).
Others are Engr. Katele Ajah, MNSE; Engr. (Dr.) Ubong Ukommi, MNSE; Engr. (Mrs.) Emem Mendie; Engr. (Dr.) Essien Udo, MNSE; Engr. (Dr.) Godwin Ekong, MNSE; Engr. Ben. Edenseating MNSE; Engr. Akaninyene Ekong, MNSE; Engr. (Prof.) Folarin Alonge, MNSE; Engr. Edo Etuk, MNSE; Engr. Robert Ekpenyong, MNSE; Engr. Ime Asuquo, MNSE, and Engr. (Mrs.) Helen Daniel, MNSE
Two Permanent Secretaries, Engr. Effiong Efiakedoho, FNSE and Engr. Richard Ekpe, MNSE who are members of the NSE, Uyo Branch accompanied the Exco on the visit.