In a proactive response to the recurring issue of building and bridge collapses throughout the nation, Chief Uche Nnaji, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, in Abuja, on October 19, 2023 announced a forthcoming collaboration with key stakeholders in the construction and building sector. The goal is to conduct a comprehensive integrity test on major bridges and buildings across Nigeria.
Chief Uche Nnaji made this significant announcement during his visit to the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) in Abuja. He underscored the imperative need for this initiative to address the multifaceted challenges stemming from structural failures in the country’s infrastructure.
“Building and bridge collapses transcend mere structural concerns; they represent profound threats to our society. To confront this issue head-on, we are forging partnerships with various stakeholders, especially experts in the field of engineering, to conduct integrity assessments on major bridges and buildings nationwide,” emphasized Chief Uche Nnaji.
The Minister also commended NBRRI for its pivotal role in advancing innovation, sustainable development, and the pursuit of infrastructure excellence. He encouraged NBRRI to remain committed to addressing critical challenges in the construction and road sectors while aligning with the vision of a modern, technologically-driven Nigeria.
Chief Uche Nnaji acknowledged NBRRI’s noteworthy implementation of Executive Order #5 and other science, technology, and innovation policies. He underscored the Ministry’s unwavering commitment to fostering research and development for the nation’s overall progress.
In response to the challenges that NBRRI faces, including staffing issues and funding constraints, the Minister pledged to address these concerns diligently. He assured that he would actively work towards obtaining presidential approval for the NBRRI Bill to facilitate its full utilization. Furthermore, he promised his support for recruiting highly skilled research officers and enhancing funding levels.
Prof. Sampson Duna, the Director General of NIBRRI, shed light on the frequent occurrence of road accidents caused by potholes, a consequence of subpar work by contractors. He emphasized the questionable integrity of many roads and bridges in Nigeria and expressed optimism about establishing a more robust working relationship with the Ministry to address these issues effectively.
The Minister’s visit also included an insightful overview of NBRRI’s remarkable research and development outputs, such as the NBRRI Dismountable House, Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks, and various innovative technologies. Prof. Sampson Duna additionally sought the Minister’s support in acquiring institutional land within the Federal Capital Territory for the NBRRI Technology Village, a platform to exhibit and employ their range of cutting-edge R&D outputs.
The visit encompassed a tour of NIBRRI’s state-of-the-art building and construction facilities, providing a tangible demonstration of the institute’s ongoing efforts to elevate the quality of infrastructure in Nigeria.