.L-R: Chief Investor Relations Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, UK, Carl Franklin; Group Executive Director, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin; Group CEO, Dangote Cement Plc, Onne van der Weijde; Honorary Adviser to President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Engr. Joseph Makoju; and Chief Corporate Communication Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Anthony Chiejina at a press briefing on Cement projects in Okpella, Edo State and Itori, Ogun State in Lagos. –
Top executives of Dangote Cement have continued to intensify efforts at training block moulders on the right mix to get quality blocks, saying the company crashed cement price to widen access to its quality product, as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said it has embarked on strategies to flush out substandard block moulders and save the nation of incessant building collapses.
The Block Moulders Association disclosed that it has set up task force to arrest members using substandard material and inappropriate mix to mould for personal gains but to the detriment of the society.
Speaking in Umahia, Abia state during a national meeting of the National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON), Regional Sales Director, Dangote Cement, Johnson Olaniyi, stated that Dangote Cement considered incessant building collapse as an indictment on all sector operators hence his company’s resolve to continue the collaboration with all so as to tackle the menace.
While assuring that Dangote Cement would continue to ensure that block moulders have access to its quality cement as part of its contribution to the war against building collapse, the Sales Director said it was to enable block moulders and Nigerians at large have access to Dangote’s quality cement that its management decided to crash the price of the commodity to N1,300, from N1,800.
He said, “We have been collaborating with you on the maintenance and sustenance of high quality blocks because it is when the block is of high quality that is the only way in which we can address the collapse of building in Nigeria today.”
According to him, “What Dangote does is to ensure that the artisans are able to maintain high quality product through the usage of Dangote cement. Today, we are sponsoring the gathering together of representatives of NAMON from the South so that they can decide on how they can add value to the real estate by way of producing quality blocks”.
In his own remark, the Regional Sales Manager, South East, Dangote Cement, Tunde Mabogunje, said Dangote was providing incentives to NABMON to encourage them to use its products because of their quality, adding, “we also partner with them to ensure their progress and to give them any assistance they may need.”
Group Head for Civil Building of SON, Engr. Joseph Ugboajah, while addressing the meeting disclosed that there are strategies already being implemented to flush out substandard block moulders as part of measures by the federal government to eradicate building collapse in the country.
He said SON has established standards for building materials, especially blocks which are essential for building, adding “it is very important that we regulate building practice in Nigeria with particular emphasis on the materials usage.
“We have standards for block which we are drumming into the ears of block moulders to comply with and I am happy most of them are complying. Our effort in SON is yielding fruits, they are complying with the standards now but it is an ongoing process. So, it is one of such advocacy that we have come here today to preach, the gospel of quality to the block makers,” Ugboajah said.
He warned that all block makers must comply with the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) of SON which makes it compulsory for everybody producer to comply with the minimum requirements of the standard.
“For those that are yet to comply, I want to assure you that there is no hiding place for them. Sooner than later, we will fish them out and we will make sure that they will leave the block industry. There is no two ways about it.
“Whatever level you are operating, whether in the cottage industry, medium or large scale, the standard is uniform and the standard is compulsory. You don’t have a choice but to comply with the standard or you close shop and look for something else to do,” he warned.
Chairman of the occasion and Chief Executive Officer of Obioma Enterprises, Deacon Obioma Okorie, hailed the sensitization programme by NABMON in partnership with SON and Dangote Cement with emphasis on quality block moulding which would expose them to new technologies in the business.
Said he; “It is my belief that this meeting will expose block moulders to new ways, standards and technologies of doing business and correct some of the challenges we have been having before now,” Okorie said and extolled Dangote for maintaining the highest standards in the cement industry.
National President of NABMON, Alhaji Rasheed Adebowale, pointed out that following SON’s sensitization programmes for their members, in addition to the association’s partnership with Dangote cement, NABMON members have embraced quality production which has greatly reduced the incidence of building collapse.
“Between 2013 and 2014, there were many cases of building collapse in Nigeria and the block makers were blamed for it. We were accused of producing substandard blocks and since 2013, the federal government mandated SON to check our production so that we can do standard blocks in order to minimize the incidence of building collapse.
“That is why we are here to meet with our members in the South East, South West and South South so that they can help spread the message of producing quality blocks,” Adebowale said.
He said that NABMON has set up task forces at the state and national levels to fish out members indulging in unwholesome practices with a view to eradicating production of substandard blocks and expressed the association’s gratitude to Dangote for the immense assistance the firm has given to NABMON.