By Kingsley Adegboye
For architects to remain relevant within the sub- sector of the construction industry, as well as abreast with developmental issues that border on transparency and discipline among members of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, NIA, the professional body and its regulatory body, Architects’ Registration Council of Nigeria, ARCON, have been charged with the responsibility of instilling discipline and ensuring high professional standards in the practice of architecture.
Speaking with journalists at its National Secretariat, Abuja, during a media parley recently, the President, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Festus Adibe Njoku, noted that the achievement of the institute and Architects’ Registration Council of Nigeria, ARCON, since their inception, no doubt, speaks volumes, urging the two arms of the profession to break new grounds on some areas that are pertinent to the growth of architecture profession in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, NIA president has disclosed that his institute has commenced work on a Nigerian affordable housing project for the common man, using local materials in order to make the houses affordable for the low income earning group in the country. Making the disclosure in Abuja recently, Njoku said: “We want to build a sample in Abuja. The walls might be made of mud and not blocks but when it is plastered and painted, nobody will know the difference. We want people to know that they can build a house with local materials without spending too much. The materials will stand the test of time. We will solve the problem of high cost of building for the poor man. It is the best approach to solving housing deficit in Nigeria.” Njoku, who lamented erosion of standards among architects, tasked ARCON to check the trend and instill discipline in the profession not minding whose ox is gored. He said: “The Institute will channel its energy towards the issue of discipline in the practice. This is one hydra-headed monster that has been gradually eating deep into the fabric of this profession.”
According to Njoku, the need to infuse discipline, professional ethics and transparency in the process therefore calls for concerted efforts by NIA and ARCON, if practitioners are not only to remain afloat in the profession, but to ensure professional standards in the practice. Commenting on the necessity for collaboration with the Federal Government, state governments, their agencies and institutions such as the political class as well as local and international relevant consultancy associations for the much-needed synergy that would facilitate the desired built environment on sustainable basis, NIA boss said there is need for continuous parley and interaction with mass media more than ever before to showcase interventionist programmes and achievements to the public.
On job creation, he said: “Job creation is one area that NIA more than any other body in the built environment profession, has greater responsibility. A lot of young architects graduate from institutions of higher learning every year, and most of them end up joining others already in the job market. I therefore enjoin professional architects to use all machineries at their disposal to create job opportunities for our teeming young professionals.” The president said there is need for continuous education of its members and public enlightenment on their responsibilities to the policymakers, sister associations and the general public.