Needless Controversy Over Cement Standard



Innocent Onyeyili, professor and chairman of the technical committee that recommended the changes that resulted in the new cement standard, has risen to the defence of the committee in the face of criticism by stakeholders. In a statement issued in Awka, Anambra State, recently declared that the committee lifted Nigeria by making 42.5 grade cement the all-purpose cement. According to him, the decision was based on the fact by using the 42.5 grade of cement, the contribution of cement to building collapse, which is due to ignorance and greed is reduced.

Onyeyili said the 42.5 grade of cement will make Nigeria a cement exporter, “if we produce 32.5 other countries won’t buy it from us, but if we produce 42.5, they will buy and when they buy, the manufacturer will be able to increase his production; to employ more people and the more people have jobs, the more people are rich. So export of cement will bring in more wealth for distribution among Nigerians.”

The university don further explained that all the relevant stakeholders had representatives on technical committee that set the new cement standard. He said universities represented by professors, research institutes, civil society, the media, consumer groups, block moulders, the professional bodies such as the council for the regulation of engineering in Nigeria, COREN, the Nigerian Institute of Building, and industry represented by Lafarge, Unicem, Ibeto and Dangote were all represented on the committee while Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, acted as the secretariat.

He thus wondered why some stakeholders now want to stop the enforcement of the standard that resulted from the committee’s recommendations. On the argument that enforcement of the new cement standard will lead to monopoly, he said those saying monopoly were only trying to swing gullible Nigerian public opinion. He, therefore, advised any manufacturer who is now lagging behind to make the necessary investment to production of cement grade 42.5, if any, rather than dream of stopping the new cement standard.

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