The Building Collapse Prevention Guild has called on stakeholders in the built environment as well as members of the public to build houses that can withstand earth tremors.
The BCPG said about a year ago, it drew the attention of the world to the possibility of Nigeria experiencing earthquakes and the need for the government to be proactive by reducing the spate of substandard building construction across the country.
The organisation said tremors, which recently occurred in parts of Oyo, Bayelsa, Rivers and Kaduna states resulted in the collapse of mud houses and inflicted visible cracks on modern buildings in the affected areas.
“This development has clearly shown the possibility of Nigeria having an earthquake induced disaster in the near future,” the BCPG said in a statement signed by its President, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, and National Publicity Secretary, Mr. George Akinola.
“The perception that Nigeria is safe or far from the seismic active regions is no longer tenable. Shaki in Oyo State has been subjected to intermittent earth tremors this year and climaxed in the first week of June 2016. Communities in Bayelsa and Rivers states on July 10, 2016 had a similar experience, but in this case due to prolonged effect of oil exploration,” the guild said.
According to the body, earth tremors have occurred in the country in 1933,1939,1964,1984,1990,1994,1997, 2000, 2009 and 2016 but a series of earth tremors might not necessarily lead to high intensity earthquake.
It added that a study carried out by Dr. Adepelumi Abraham, of the Department of Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife and his team of researchers stated that after the earth tremor of 2009 in the South-West, the probability of earthquake occurrence in the study area between the year 2009 and 2028 had increased from 2.8 per cent to 91.1 per cent.
The guild said, “Buildings are the bastion of physical development, which is used to adjudge a nation’s rung in the global socio-economic ladder. Investors in buildings should be concerned about the durability of what they are providing funds for. The longer a building exists, the more the revenue or value the owner derives from it. A solidly constructed building can stand the test of time.
“Nigeria must not continue to repeat the mistake of Haiti and Nepal where stringent building regulations are lacking, thereby aggravating the effects of earthquakes on buildings. In an earthquake disaster, substandard buildings have always been the major cause of high death tolls. And unfortunately in Nigeria, the National Building Code is legally and practically not in existence just as it was in Haiti.”
The BCPG said the call by the Director, Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, Toro, Bauchi State, Dr. Tahir Yakubu, that the Federal Government should establish additional seismological stations to monitor crustal movements in the identified earthquake prone areas should be taken seriously.
“A nation without an effective national building code will end up in ruin in the event of an earthquake. Enforcement of building regulations without compromise will prevent serious calamity in the future,” the guild said.