By Cynthia Ezekwe.
Dangote Cement Plc has announced plans to establish Block Moulders Academy, as an avenue to stem the spate of building collapse in the country.
The company made this known in a statement signed by Francis Awowole-Browne, Media and Communications Personnel, Dangote Industries Ltd.
The rising spate of building collapse in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, the economic nerve centre of the country, is a growing concern for investors, the government and the populace alike, considering the economic and social implications.
According to documents obtained from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, at least 271 buildings have collapsed in Nigeria over the past ten years,accounting for 50 per cent of the total 541 reported cases in Nigeria between 1974 and 2022.
The incidence of buildings collapsing in Nigeria has gotten to an alarming level that it comes at no surprise that the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction ranked Nigeria number one in the frequency and intensity of building collapse in Africa,a poor representation of a country striving for sustainable development and economic growth.
To address the issue, Dangote Cement Company said the academy is structured to provide the requisite skills needed by block moulders and artisans in the real estate sector of the economy.
Commenting on the project, Fumi Sanni, Dangote Cement’s national sales director, said the academy has become necessary as most of the artisans and block makers are aging, while young men are not enthusiastic about the profession.
He noted that one of the sure ways of reducing the phenomenon of building collapse is to check quackery, while imparting the needed skills to the block makers and artisans, adding that the company was also ready to support the block makers who will pass through the Academy with machineries and tools.
Rabiu Umar, the company’s group head, sales and marketing, identified rapid urbanisation, high cost of land acquisition, rising cost of construction materials, lack of basic infrastructure, inaccurate housing demographics, among others as some of the factors affecting the provision of housing in Nigeria.
Umar noted that in a concerted effort aimed at addressing housing shortages, the company set up a department whose focus is to attend to the challenges and needs of real estate development in our market.
“The idea is to engage in project partnerships, collaborations, and participation in real estate development initiatives in Nigeria. Part of our effort towards ameliorating the housing shortage is by constructing large cement plants in Nigeria and many African countries,’’ he said.
Umar noted that the Dangote plants ensure that cement, the basic raw material in the housing sector, is readily available in sufficient quantities, adding that the company has a dedicated fleet of trucks to deliver both bagged and bulk cement to customers and construction sites and have established depots near all major markets.
This, he explained, is necessary in bridging the distance between the plants and distributors.