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Lagos, Experts Advocate Synergy Against Building Collapse

…LASG to tackle sexual harassment in tertiary institutions

BENJAMIN OMOIKE

Lagos State Government has said the fight against building collapse must be coordinated among the government, built environment professionals and other stakeholders to achieve success.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development (MPP&UD), Dr. Idris Salako, said this at a “Building Collapse Sensitisation Workshop” in Lagos.

The workshop was organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) as part of activities to mark its 2022 Engineering Week in collaboration with the MPP&UD.

Salako, represented by the Director Technical Services Department, Mr. Bola Aliu, said his Ministry was glad to collaborate with NSE on the sensitisation workshop.

He said the theme was apt at this moment when conversation centred around efforts to promote standards and ethical practices, needed to eliminate building collapse in Lagos State.

“The effort to combat building collapse is a collective one that involves the government, professionals and other stakeholders in the built environment.

“Building collapse is multi-dimensional in terms of causes and impacts, which can be social, economic and cultural. Building collapse, amongst its impacts, has taken its toll on individual and public resources.

“It has wiped out an entire family and destroyed infrastructure.

“To stem the tide of building collapse the Lagos State Government has introduced a lot of measures including the creation of an agency for development control (LASBCA) in the deployment of drone technology for monitoring of the physical environment,” he said.

The Commissioner said that the government recently employed about 100 young graduates in different professional fields including Engineers, Architects and Town Planners, for “regular identification and removal of distressed buildings”.

The Lead Speaker, a past Chairman of NSE, Ikeja Branch, Mr. Kunle Adebajo, said the synergy between government, professionals and industry players was important in resolving issues of building collapse.

Adebajo, a past President of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, said the collaboration would guide against errors and quackry to tame the menace, hence the workshop with relevant experts and artisans in attendance.

“In the past, we have not been collaborating enough. The private sector is doing its own thing, the government and ministries are doing theirs; the developers and so on are all over the place,” he said.

He said that engineers needed all built environment experts and other stakeholders, saying that, “collaboration any day will yield better results than each individual trying to do their own thing”.

The Principal, Lagos State Technical College, Ogba, Dr. Rafiu Ajifowoke, and other discussants took turns to proffer solutions to issues of building collapse and the need for collaboration.

The week-long Engineering Week has the theme: “Taking Responsibility for Nigeria’s Transformation: The Imperatives for Engineers”.

In the same vein, Mrs. Bolaji Dada, the Lagos State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), has restated the government’s resolve to curb sexual harassment in tertiary educational institutions.

Dada made this known on Monday at a one-day stakeholders meeting organized by WAPA in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The newsmen report that the forum was tagged” Domestication of Sexual Harassment Prohibition Policy in Tertiary Educational Institutions in Lagos State: Using Gender Lens.”

She said that the meeting aimed at exploring avenues to curb sexual harassment in tertiary institutions across the State.

“WAPA as a matter of duty, protects, supports and empowers all women within to achieve their full potentials socially, physically, economically and politically.

“This training is of ardent view to introduce the anti-harassment policy to tertiary Institutions in Lagos State which already exists at the federal establishments in Nigeria.

“The aim of this policy is to address and prevent an antagonistic situation that violates the dignity of students and employees at the workplace,” she said.

The commissioner added that the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration through the ‘T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda’ has zero tolerance for all forms of abuses, particularly, sexual harassment

“The State Government has taken the lead through various legal and policy frameworks to support the rights of the girl child,“ she said.

Dr. Esther Somefun, the Gender Reproductive Health Analyst of the UNFPA, said the agency had observed a steady increase in sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in the country.

“Sexual abuse is rooted in power imbalances which many students, teaching and non-teaching staffers still encounter in their daily lives.

“Some of these harassments are reported while some still remain unreported and even those reported die natural deaths.

”There is still too much fear to speak up against abuses,” she said.

Somefun said UNFPA would continuously work with WAPA and other agencies to ensure that tertiary institutions were able to tackle what she called ”monsters who harass students.”

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