Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Abia State Government says it will establish Standard Materials Testing Laboratory in Umuahia to help checkmate the increasing cases of building collapse in different parts of the country.
The decision, according to the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu, was taken during the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Alex Otti.
He said that Government would not continue to watch idly while some greedy merchants would continue to put the lives citizens in danger.
He said: “This government is trying to ensure that such instances do not occur in our state. The lab may include where they test materials for road construction. It will also provide a platform for a research for those who want to carry out research in such areas.”
Expatiating on the Standard Materials Testing Laboratory, the General Manager, Umuahia Capital Development Authority, Mr Kingsley Agomuo, explained that the initiative was not targeted against developers but meant to save them from dubious contractors who might decide to execute their projects with substandard materials.
“This is also going to assist us to ensure that every building, road construction including bridges meet the required standards.
“You are also aware that the use of substandard materials is the order of the day, so with this, it’s going to be pretty difficult for you to start any construction work and get any approval at any stage without subjecting the materials you are going to use through this laboratory.”
The Capital Development Authority boss who said that the lab would also be set up in other parts of the state added that “it has the capacity to handle soil test, reinforcement of rods, aggregate materials and asphalt.”
Meanwhile, the State Government has directed the immediate dismantling of all illegal gates at different streets within Umuahia and Aba metropolis.
The illegal gates according to the Information Commissioner, are obstructing free access to the affected streets, hence the decision of Government to remove them to allow unrestricted access to every part of the state at any time.
“These illegal gates impede movements in times of emergencies. The streets and areas where these gates exist, the people there will be pleaded with to do the needful to provide access. If they don’t do so, Government will enforce compliance.”
The Commissioner further said that Government had directed the removal of attachments in the cities as they deface the aesthetic look of the cities.
“If you look round the city, you will see a lot of buildings that bear extensions in front. These attachments have been converted to shops and government is frowning at that. Going forward, we want buildings to remain buildings, if you have commercial building, it will serve that purpose, if you have residential building, let them serve that purpose .
“We expect those involved to take their time to do the needful and remove these stalls. After that government will enforce it.”