The Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has revealed that most buildings in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been erected without being designed and approved by the qualified architects.
According to the council President, Umaru Aliyu, less than 10% of buildings in Abuja, the nation’s capital, are designed by qualified and registered architects, while the rest are the handiworks of quacks. The buildings includes both the completed and those which are still under construction have been approved without the design plan of a qualified and registered architect.
There has been allegations of corruption practices in the FCT, whereby a qualified architect submits his design and documents to the development control department for approval, and the client goes through the backdoor collecting the document without the knowledge of the architect.
Nigeria building industry has remained the most bastardised, due to the activities of quacks. However, none of the collapsed buildings in the country have been attributed as the fault of the qualified and registered architect.
According to the act establishing the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) which clearly stipulates that only Nigerian citizens who are fully registered as architect are entitled for registration and practice of the profession in the country.
However, Aliyu blames the many Nigerian chief executive officers for spoiling the industry as they welcome foreign architects to execute building projects in the country something which is described as a violation of the laws establishing the council.
“I must tell that that corruption has been with us for a very long time, and I must say that our state governors are not helping the matter,” said Aliyu. “Our state governors prefer to work with foreign architects for no other reason than for selfish reasons, the law establishing the council, which came into force since 1969, when many foreigners were in the country, clearly states that unless you are a Nigerian, you cannot practice architecture in the country,” he added.
The council laws have been put in place to ensure protection of the nation’s properties, instead, both the public and private sectors bring in foreign architects, in contravention of the existing laws. This simply means, the jobs that are meant for Nigerians are illegally given out to foreigners.
ARCON was established by Decree No. 10 0f 1969 and further amended by Decree No. 43 of 1990. The Council was later reviewed to fall in line with the new dispensation. In line with this thinking, the law has now been renamed Architects (Registration, Etc) Act Cap A19 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The Council maintains a register of architects and architectural firms respectively in line with the enabling Act. Fully registered Architects are those who can practise as principals or consultants to clients and can submit building plans for planning and bye-laws approval.