CEMENT CLASSIFICATION IN NIGERIA: THE PROSPECTS FOR THE NEW STANDARDISATION POLICY
Eme Okechukwu Innocent1, Rev. Nnaemeka, Chukwuma2, Ezeibe, Christian C3
Follawing the alarm raised by a coalition of civil society groups and professional bodies in the construction industry on the manufacturing and importation of poor quality cement into the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) recently convened and mandated a Technical Committee to formulate new standards for cement in the country. Though belated, this response to the alarm should help ensure that henceforth, only high quality cement that can guarantee the strength and safety of buildings is either produced or imported into the country. For some time now, the quality of cement sold in the country has been compromised at will, leaving unpleasant consequences such as frequent collapse of buildings across the country, with attendant loss of lives and property. There have been worrisome reports of different grades of sub-standard cement in the market, with consumers largely unaware that certain grades of cement were not suitable for housing construction. The use of law-grade cement probably contributed to the problem of collapsing buildings in the country. The loss of lives in the collapsed buildings could clearly have been avoided if proper quality standards had been set and enforced, and the people educated on the grade of cement to use for block making and house plastering. Nevertheless, it is good that SON has now taken necessary steps to formulate cement standards for Nigeria. This will help users of the product to establish the relationship between the quality of the cement that they use and the strength and safety of their buildings. We commend SON under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Odumodu for responding quickly to the alert raised by stakeholders in the construction industry. This paper addresses the challenges raised above and suggests that poor building practices are key to the problem of building collapse and that efforts to curb this problem would be beyond the scope of the Technical Committee alone but to all stakeholders. From these reviews and current development in the Nigerian cement industry in the last four months the paper concludes that with the availability of 32.5, 42.5 and 52.5 grade of cement in the country, it is high time for massive education of bricklayers and masons all over the country for them to know the right kind of cement for a given project and thus ensure safety of buildings.