Abuja, March 29, 2019 (NAN) Experts on infrastructure development observe that the reason for decay and deterioration of public infrastructure in the country is the near absence of maintenance culture.
According to them, public infrastructure is suffering from decay and as such fail to provide effective service delivery to the citizenry across the country.
The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) recently organised a lecture entitled « Maintenance Culture: A Panacea for Infrastructural Development in Nigeria » to make efforts at addressing the challenge.
The institute says the aim of the lecture is to sensitise the public, government ministries, agencies and parastals to the need to imbibe maintenance culture, especially for the maintenance of public property across the country.
Mr Louis Eriomala, the Executive Secretary of NICO, says government at all levels spend a lot of money every year to provide roads, building, railway tracts and power installations, among others.
« The infrastructure decay and dilapidation we presently experience is as a result of our poor maintenance culture which is attributed to the negative attitude towards government’s project as nobody’s business, hence it is neglected.
« This is due to ignorance, because a road in a state of disrepair and an electricity project vandalised will affect everyone in that community and cost of doing business.
« Maintenance culture has proven to be a major contributor to sustainable development in developed nations where buildings, roads and projects built decades ago still function optimally.
« To promote maintenance culture in Nigeria, we suggest Nigerians need a positive attitude towards the nation’s infrastructure by owing them, ensuring their protection and maintenance.
« While maintenance should be carried out at the appropriate time, adequate funds should also be provided for agencies or units responsible for maintenance of our infrastructure, » Eriomala says.
Similarly, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola represented in the lecture by Mr Augustine Ocheche, Deputy Direction of Rehabilitation, Housing Sector said that maintenance culture was absent in the previous administrations of the country.
He alleged that previous governments did not pay adequate attention to maintenance of public infrastructural assets.
« But this government has taken the bull by the horn to face the issue of maintenance squarely.
« It has developed a National Public Building Maintenance Policy which was approved by the Federal Executive Council.
« This government is set to develop a maintenance culture which was aimed at creating employment, add value, growth and contribute to productivity.
« We set up a committee for maintenance of public building to identify the problem of maintenance; National Hospital, Nigeria Prison, Kuje, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and others were selected.
« The Maintenance policy is to provide guidance on how public building should be maintained; the general aim of the policy is to ensure that all public buildings are effectively maintained » Fashola said.
The minister also said that the policy would checkmate deterioration of public buildings in the country.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minster of Information and Culture, noted that the theme of the lecture was very apt considering the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to the investment of massive money on infrastructure development in the country.
« The Federal Executive Council in November 2018 approved a new policy toward ensuring that public buildings in the country are being maintained.
« The new maintenance policy and framework was design to institutionalise an effective maintenance culture in Nigeria.
« This is because it is counter-productive to invest billions of naira in new project whereas the provided funds for maintenance are not properly utilised.
« Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with its parastatals will engender a sustain sensitisation of the citizenry on the importance of cultivating a good maintenance culture which is critical to the development of the nation, » Mohammed said.
The minister, represented by Mrs Memunat Idu-Lah, Deputy Director of Festivals and Carnivals in the ministry, said that it was impressive to see respectable Nigerians played high role in the formulation of the maintenance policy for public building in Nigeria.
Mr Yusuf Galambi, the Chairman, Governing Board of NICO, observed that the lecture on Maintenance Culture was a wakeup call.
« Government at all levels should have a well-articulated maintenance policy that makes adequate provision for maintenance of our infrastructure, » he observed.
In same vein, the Ona of Abaji and Chairman FCT Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Adamu Yunusa, said that there was need to go back to our culture of making things rights.
Yunusa said that it was of paramount importance to pass knowledge of maintenance from elders to younger members in the family.
He stressed that many years ago, children were responsible for sweeping their parents’ room every day, « but today we employ house maids, aide and others to help maintain our environment.
« It is unfortunate that money that should be used for maintenance is being misused by people who came from background that do not value maintenance culture.
« In our schools today, foreign culture is being transfer to our children that when they grow up they begin to behave like foreigners.
« There is need to re-establish the discipline we use to have before; we need to inculcate the culture of maintenance into our children and development process, » he said.
Other observers have also linked lack of maintenance culture to corruption, stressing that money for maintenance is being embezzled by corrupt government officials.
They also note that the absence of maintenance causes the deterioration and collapse of public infrastructure across the country.
According to them, inefficiency of public infrastructure is a result of corruption and absence of maintenance culture.