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Warehouse Fire: Customs Boss Orders Probe

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Vehicles worth more than N50 billion may have been lost in the fire accident that took place recently at the Customs Warehouse, Ikeja, Lagos.
Sequel to this, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), has ordered that an Administrative panel be set up to unravel the root cause of the fire outbreak that took place at the Ikeja Customs Warehouse.
Our source disclosed that the fire outbreak was the handiwork of some unscrupulous officers of the Command to cover up their dirty deals.
According to our source, the CGC who expressed shock at the short interval of fire outbreaks in the warehouse directed the Comptroller of Federal Operations Zone “A” Comptroller Garba M. Uba, to contact the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, to investigate the matter and bring to book all those involved in the act.
The CGC, according to our sources, was quoted as saying “Something of this nature happens when there are security lapses”
According to an eyewitness account, the fire razed substantial part of the warehouse, destroying about six trucks, 15 cars/vans and over three fully loaded trucks with assorted goods and foreign parboiled rice.
The Tide gathered that the timely intervention of the Lagos State Fire Service helped to put out what could have been a major fire disaster in the area .
The fire could have spread to the nearby police barracks and Customs Training School as well as other commercial buildings along the Mobolaji Johnson Way.
The Deputy Head, Lagos State Fire Service, Alhaji Rasaki Musibau, however, told our correspondent that the fire started from a burst cylinder stored under one of burnt vehicles.
“From available information, the fire started from a burst cylinder stored under one burnt vehicles and enhanced by the harmattan”, Rasaki said.
It would be recalled that in April 2016, an early morning fire razed a warehouse located at the Customs Training School, Ikeja, Lagos.
The cause of the fire which started around 6:30am and destroyed property worth several millions of Naira up to date is yet to be ascertained.
Our correspondent’s effort to reach the Customs Public Relations Officer FOU Zone “A,” Mr. Jerome Attah, to confirm the incident proved abortive as many calls put across to his mobile phone were not responded to as at the time of filing this report.

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Construction Safety: Builders  Seek New Procurement Standards 

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With the conclusion of its annual conference, the Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB) has sought for new procurement standards.
The conference which held in Port Harcourt focused on: Health, Safety, Enforcement and Professionalism for Sustainable Development” with experts in the built industry proffering solutions to the challenges facing the sector.
President of the NIOB, Kenneth Nduka while discussing the focus of the conference stressed that the enforcement of procurement laws will help infuse security and safety standards.
In an era where quacks have infiltrated the built sector, Nduka opined that procurement will check the problem of corruption , compromise of standards and the use of sub- standard products for construction.
“For us, safety and security should be a way of life fo every builder. We must embrace it as a routine”, Nduka said.
While speaking on the topic: Appraisal  of Health, Safety Practices of Small and Medium Construction Sites”, Dr. Muyiwa Abubakar, a lecturer in Building Department, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University disclosed that 60 percent of fatalities in construction sites come from buildings.
Abubakar stated that safety is pertinent so as to meet target time since construction is characterised  with risks and hazards.
The lecturer harped on safety management practices that would be driven by training , competence and enforcement.
On his part, Dr Chris Igwe suggested that quality must not be compromised to ensure safety.
For him, enforcement of standards leads to adoption of safety and security at construction sites.

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Housing/Property

‘Industrialisation, Key To Achieving Local Content In Housing’

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A member of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Mr Benson Ngbede, says industrialisation is key to achieving local content inputs in providing affordable housing for citizens.
Ngbede told newsmen recently in Abuja that building houses would be cheaper when the country is able to develop its industries and locally produce materials that were currently imported.
“Most resources required to build houses are locally available in their raw state. Establishing industries that will turn these raw materials into finished products for builders will ensure affordable houses for citizens.
“Government needs to put in place what is needed for developers to provide houses at relatively affordable prices; that entails availability of land and infrastructure.
“We also need to look inward. We need to develop our industries. We need to be more industrialised to help us develop local content. “If we can do that, one bedroom house can go for 1million naira, 2 bedroom for about 1.5 million, while a 3 bedroom house can be sold for N3 million, since the materials are sourced at home
“To achieve this, institutions like NIBRRI must be properly funded and supported to carry out researches that will help develop materials needed to build houses.
“We have a place like Ajaokuta which can supply iron to the entire African continent, but it is lying there idle nd not working, forcing us to import metals from other places in the world, and at a high cost,” Ngbede lamented.
He also urged government to provide infrastructure, drainage, roads and other facilities necessary for real estate developers so as to ensure a consequence reduction in the cost of houses.

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Housing/Property

Housing Deficit: NGO To Invest $180m In Five Years

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Shelter Afrique, an NGO, is to invest 180 million dollars in five years toward addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit, Mr Andrew Chimphondah, its Managing Director, said yesterday in Abuja.
Chimphondah said that the investment period would span from 2019 to 2024.
He said that Nigeria was a strategic market for Shelter Afrique, adding that the outfit’s shareholders included 44 African countries and two financial institutions.
According to him, Shelter Afrique provides loans, grants and credits for the development of the environment and the provision of houses for Africans.
Chimphondah said that Nigeria had 70 to 20 million estimated housing  shortage.
“We are looking at the demand and supply side of housing. For the supply side, we will enter into Public-Private-Partnership with government with government providing land and subsidised infrastructure.
“Our organisation will provide the funding and expertise to carry out the project.
“We will commit and dedicate all the expertise to ensure that quality houses are delivered; we will also ensure that the houses are energy efficient, environmental friendly and comfortable,” he added.
Chimphondah said that most financial institutions had often complained of funding, but assured Nigerians that the NGO would fashion out a way to reduce the cost of the houses.

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