New Telegraph

Experts advocate tall, safe buildings as solution to housing challenges

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, renowned experts in public policy and leading industry players in the built and construction industry in Nigeria have affirmed that ‘building up’ is the best solution to tackling the problem of scarcity and high cost of accommodation in urban centres in Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu, alongside the experts, made this assertion at the fifth edition of leading building solutions company, Lafarge Africa’s public policy thought-leadership series, Concrete Ideas, held in Lagos. While decrying the acute scarcity and high cost of buildable land in major urban areas in the country, the experts highlighted the challenges affecting the optimal use of tall buildings and also shared insights on how this could be the solution to the problem of scarcity and high cost of accommodation in urban centres in Nigeria. The experts concluded that to fully harness the many advantages that high-rise buildings offer, the government and all the stakeholders in the built environment must take bolder steps to combat the many problems militating against mass development and the optimal use of high-rise buildings in the country.

This, they believe, will go a long way in providing answers to the problem of inadequate housing in the urban centres in the country, particularly in Lagos and Abuja, where there is limited availability of buildable land and accommodation. Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, at the high-profile conference, commended the incredible job Lafarge Africa is doing within the Nigerian construction sector. “We are building a Greater and Stronger Lagos, and the strong buildings that are built with Lafarge Cement are contributing to the beauty and aesthetics, of our state and our collective desire to keep up a picture of a Greater Lagos” He said: “I am particularly pleased with this conference theme; Building Up Safely: Government-Industry Collaborations because it is very apposite and it hits very close to home for us in Lagos where we are working assiduously and determined to sustainably address the issue of avoiding building collapse, safeguard the lives of our people, and prevent economic and financial loss.” The governor further noted that the government is open to and ready to welcome ideas and initiatives brought by the industry key stakeholders.

“As a proactive government, we are ever open to ideas and initiatives that are targeted at improving the living standards of Lagosians and the quality of buildings being put up in our state for habitation. I assure players in the construction, infrastructure, building and housing sectors respectively that we are ready to welcome all ideas brought by you that are aimed at promoting construction of safe buildings in our state.” He said the state government is mapping out ways to make the building industry and generally the landed economy in Lagos become more viable and compliant with the demands of a Smart City State and a 21st Century economy.

While imploring the experts to work closely with the state government and also initiate ideas that will help in achieving the desired goals faster, the governor also expressed his readiness to receiving the communique of all the workable solutions and collaborative ideas that will emanate from the discussions. Also speaking at the event, Ogun State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Ade Akinsanya, an engineer, commended the building solutions company for the initiative. He also expressed the willingness of his state government to work with all relevant professionals to improve the built and construction industry.

In his opening remarks, the Country Chief Executive Officer, of Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Khaled El Dokani, applauded the governor for the massive infrastructural development that the state has witnessed since he assumed office. This he said has no doubt continued to foster economic development and stimulate prosperity in the state. “I am glad to note that your administration has continued to play active role in promoting ideas towards improving the built and construction sector in Nigeria. Your continuous review and reenactment of extant laws on urban and regional planning and development is an attestation to this fact,” he added.

“But we believe there is still more that can be done and I am optimistic that suggestions and recommendations from the Concrete Ideas series would be found useful by your government in further enriching policies and regulatory capacity, as well as effectiveness and efficiency in the sector,” he stressed. Speaking on the theme of the conference, the country CEO of Lafarge noted that the development of high-rise building is a current trend in modern cities all over the world, mainly to overcome the challenges of urban overpopulation and for the optimal use of scarce land resources. He mentioned that the slow growth of the concept of vertical cities compared to the dashing growth of the country’s population will continue to heighten the arduous challenge of housing in Nigeria’s urban cities such as Lagos and Abuja.

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