The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that the population of Lagos State is causing major challenges in health, security and the environment.
Aregbesola stated that the overcrowding and high population density in some parts of the state was a ticking time bomb for future epidemics and pandemics.
The minister stated this on Monday at the 29th Founders’ Day Celebration of the Ikeja, Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and the Commissioning of the Engineering Resource Centre named in his honour, held at Ralph Alabi Engineering Centre, Ogba, Lagos.
In a statement signed by the minister’s media aide, Sola Fasure, Aregbesola was quoted as saying that the housing shortage in Lagos was a contributing factor to these issues.
He said, “One major challenge of an urban centre like Lagos is the housing shortage. According to the latest estimate, Lagos has 2.5 million housing deficits. This creates other problems of health, the environment and security.
“The overcrowding and high population density in some areas is a ticking time bomb in epidemics and pandemics of the future. Engineers should begin to design and construct low-cost houses that use less concrete and blocks and can be produced at a very fast rate in order to decongest and restore sanity to these areas.”
Aregbesola, while addressing the engineers, urged them to set minimum standards for development in the country, stating that professional bodies should always ensure that the government gets value for money on projects while the beneficiaries, which is the public, feel the impact of their contribution.
“More than anything, engineers and professionals in general, should re-horn their sense of role and responsibility to the society in a developing economy like ours.
“On roads, for instance, engineers and other professionals should come up on an annual basis the requirements and the cost of constructing different categories of roads in the different regions of the country.
“This will prevent just anyone from coming up with arbitrary figures that aid corruption and deplete public resources. Such a template should be available on any public works.
“We need to entrench a culture of government officials and contractors being conscious that they are being watched and scrutinised and that they will be held accountable.
“Unless these professional bodies put themselves in the position to ensure that the government is getting value for money on projects and the public feel their impact on the way government conducts its business, they will find it difficult to gain the respect and admiration of the public and will be seen as part of the scams going on.
“In the developed world, it is these professional bodies that keep society in check and prevent people from going astray. Nigerian engineers, therefore, should be involved in the entrenchment of values – of works and service to the community,” Aregbesola added.