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Building collapse: Minister tasks architects on professionalism, ethical practice

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.Demands review of ARCON Act.

 

AKOR SYLVESTER, Abuja

 

Architects across the country have been charged to uphold the ethics of architectural profession and also check quackery in built industry in order to curb incessant building collapses in the country.

Members in dispute in the profession have also been urged to give room for peace in the industry by withdrawing all court cases to that effect for amicable resolution.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa who gave the charge at the Inauguration of the Re-constituted Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) Thursday in Abuja, said the recurring phenomenon of building collapse has led to loss of lives, and waste of resources and brought shame to the profession and the housing sector in the country.

He urged members of the council to be committed from inception to play its part by promoting accountability, transparency through the implementation of initiatives that would enhance good governance in the built environment by bringing registered architects to uphold ethical conduct and integrity.

He enjoined the council members to take time and go through the Act Establishing ARCON in order for them to fully understand the task that they are about to undertake.

He further charged the council to be committed to delivering results that align with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for Housing and Urban Development.

While inaugurating the 14th Council of the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), the minister said: “Today, you are all about to be inaugurated as members of the Council with the responsibility of defining the practice of Architecture in the country. I charge you to see your nomination as a call to service. Each of you must strive in the conduct of this assignment to be selfless, professional, above board and focused in the interest of the profession, the  country and teeming Architects in our country.

“You should consider it an honor and privilege to be chosen out of many equally qualified and outstanding Architects to serve as a Council member.

“This distinction and your nomination come with high responsibility and you must be alive to the expectations of the Architectural profession and the trust bestowed upon you and be ready to contribute meaningfully towards policies that will promote and enshrine standards and quality in the housing sector.

“For those of you who have been following events, you will agree with me that this day has been a long time coming. And it is a good thing for the Architectural profession and the built industry that it has come on the first working day of May 2024. This should mark a new beginning that is filled with progress”.

Continuining, he said: “This inauguration was first scheduled to take place on Tuesday December 21, 2021. But it was shelved to allow for dialogue and stakeholder engagement for peace to reign. In fact, this Council should have been winding down by now if that inauguration had held in 2021.

“We have resolved to go ahead today after giving ample time, energy, and resources for these stakeholder engagements. I want to take a moment to commend all who have contributed to making this day possible.

“As we inaugurate the ARCON Council today, I want to specifically charge the members to ensure that there is peace in the house of Architecture in Nigeria. This is very important. Without a peaceful environment there can never be meaningful progress.

“As a revered profession we must demonstrate unity. We must demonstrate the ability to organize ourselves. We must show that we can lead the industry. This must be evident in the way our organizations conduct themselves.

“I want to appeal to all stakeholders and interest groups within the profession to recognize that ARCON is the only statutory body established to Regulate the Architectural Profession in Nigeria, by virtue of the provision of Section 7 (5c), 9(3), and Section 4 of the Architects Registration Act, 2004.

“I call on them to abide by the resolutions of our several meetings and withdraw all pending cases in Courts to allow for sustainable peace and progress in the Architectural profession. Let us do this for the profession that has made us, let us do this for the futures and careers of those coming behind us, let us do this for the country and the housing sector.

“Let us resolve not to sacrifice the profession on the altar of pecuniary interests even as we strive to ensure fairness and equity and balance.

“My position today cannot be different from that held on 22nd February 2024 when I met the Management of ARCON with representatives of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Association of Chartered Nigerian Architects (ANCA).

“At that meeting, I gave you my word that the  ARCON Council would be reconstituted in accordance with the present Act until it is amended in the near future as provided for under Section 2 (2) (a) – (d)”.

Stating that the inauguration of the council was in fulfilment of that solemn pronouncement, the minister said: “As you get ready to start work, I also want to draw your attention to the fact that the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria Act 2004 being a statute created by the National Assembly needs immediate and urgent review and update by way of Amendment.

“The Act needs a surgical review to align its mandate with the realities of today and beyond. The Ministry under my watch would encourage this Council to urgently begin work on this amendment. We should aim to remove all areas of ambiguities.

“We should incorporate the right to exist and function with the common objective of promoting the Profession, in accordance with the provision of Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution as amended (which give Right to Freedom of Association), accordingly”.

Speaking, the Registrar of ARCON, Arch. Umar Murnai Saulawa, called on the members of the council to put their differences behind and work for the interest of the profession and Nigeria.

He assured the minister that the council will deliver on the mandate set for it, while commending him for finding the members worthy of the task.

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