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Sanwo-Olu, Experts Advocate Tall, Safe Buildings as Solution to Urban Housing Challenges

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By Victoria Onehi

The 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 at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos on Tuesday.

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.”

Also speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Ogun State, Engr. Ade Akinsanya, 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. 

Speaking on the theme of the conference, the country CEO of Lafarge,  Mr. Khaled El Dokani

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.  

Renowned speakers in attendance at the session include; Dr. Idris Salako, Commissioner, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State, Engr. Engr. Monsurat Aramide Adeoye, Special Adviser on Works & Infrastructure to the Lagos State Governor; Mr. Kehinde Osinaike, General Manager, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), represented by Mrs. Busola Olatunji, Director, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA); Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh, President, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Arc. Gbolahan Owodunni Oki, General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA); Mrs. Olajumoke Akinwunmi, Acting Chairman, Purple; Mr. Femi Yusuff, Head, Mortar, Innovation & New Product Development, Lafarge Africa Plc, Engr. Ade Akinsanya, Ogun State Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, and Mrs. Saadiya Aliyu, MD/CEO, Urban Shelter Ltd.

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