The renowned human right lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, has called the quantity surveyors to take control of the building industry and help in ridding the sector of quacks masquerading as practitioners.
Speaking during the 14th Distinguished Lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Lagos chapter with the theme: “Professionals in Partisan Politics: Appraising their Roles in Envisioning Economic Growth and Development of Nigeria, Falana said that the building industry’s cost consultants must collaborate with other professionals bodies to carry out the major assignment of removing quacks in the industry in the interest of the association and nation.
He assured his collaboration with the group to remove quacks from the building industry.
“You must take total control of the building industry. I have offered to collaborate with you to remove quacks from the building industry, I mean those parading as professionals. They must be checked out in the interest of the nation.
“Get your disciplinary body to be up and doing. Many are not functioning and have caused a lot of problems. You must monitor your members, promote integrity and ensure people you are referring are people of integrity.”
“There is no successive case of corruption in this country without the professional, being it property development, rents and doctoring of documents. Don’t allow you association to be notorious in this area,” Falana said.
Speaking to the topic of the lecture, the human right lawyer enjoined professionals in the industry to join politics in order to hijack power from those he referred to as ‘chalatants’ pointing out that most nations that have made progress are headed by professionals.
“Each professional association body must go beyond taken care of interest of members, but find out what is going on in the society. 2023 politics is here.
“NIQS must start by organisingprogrammes to mobilise members to take part in politics,” he said.
According to him, professionals were leaders turning things around in developed economies such as the United States of America, Singapore and United Kingdom.
Falana, who doubles as one of the keynote speakers at the forum, went down the memory lane, pointing out that Nigeria’s leaders at independence were professionals, citing late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, lawyer; late Dr. NnamidiAzikwe, journalist; and late Tafawa Balewa, teacher; enjoining quantity surveyors and other professionals to rise to the occasion.
As professionals, he said they could be in politics and still maintained their integrity by handling matters ethically.
“Moving forward to 2023, we will be saying something. If we act under the All Progressive Party (APC) and People Democratic Party (PDP), we are going to land ourselves in trouble,” Falana warned.
On the issue of insecurity, Falana called the federal and state governments to install screening machines, CCTV cameras and other gadgets in public places /buildings to safe Nigerians from incessant attacks by bandits and terrorists.
Falana said the suggestion has become imperative going by the disturbing cases of terrorists’ attacks on churches and correctional centers in the country.
He bemoaned the recent bomb attack on Abuja-Kaduna Train, where scores of people were killed and others kidnapped; the attack of a Catholic church in Owo,Ondo State,where many worshipers were murdered by terrorists/armed gunmen; and attack on Kuje Correctional Center, which he described as most secured center in the country.
Falana said these sad events were becoming too many in the country.
“We must ensure screening machines and CCTV cameras are in public places and buildings.
“We must not wait for tragedy to occur before acquiring gadgets. We must presurise government to install these gadgets to safe the public,” Falana said.
Joining in the discussion, former Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Prince Adeniji Kazeem, corroborated Falana, urging professionals based on their training, which talked about integrity, good character and right standing to join politics, noting that the task of nation’s building can’t be done by the government alone.
He shared his experiences while in office and what he was able to deduce and understand about politics of the state, urging professionals to come on board in order to revamp the Nigeria’s economy.
Keynote Speaker, former Governor of Bauchi State, AlhajiAdamuMuazu, commended the institute for sustaining the lecture series.
Muazu,who was represented by the former President of NIQS, MurtalaAliyu, said professionals have been trained to do a lot of planning, managing resources and to uphold ethical standards.
He stated that most physical development that took place in Bauchi State was done under him, being a professional.
President of NIQS, OlayemiShonubi, in his opening remarks, said the theme of the lecture series was apt, particularly when the entire nation is going through electioneering campaign for 2023.
He urged professionals not to leave politics to chalatants, hence the need for them to join politics and occupy vital positions in order to reposition the country for economic growth and development.