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By NBF News
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By Yinka Kolawole
Owners and occupiers of public buildings in Nigeria have been called upon to insure themselves against losses to third parties in accordance with Section 65 of the Insurance Act, 2003.

An insurance consultant, Mr. Obinna Chilekezi, made the call recently at a forum organised by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) which brought together experts from diverse fields as well as realtors and other stakeholders to dissect the myriad of problems confronting the real estate industry and proffer solutions.

'The owners and occupiers of public buildings, while insuring the risks of fire and special perils, should insist that their insurers include the risk of collapse. The owner of any building under construction should ensure that the building is insured adequately through the purchase of Contractors' All Risk Insurance with an extension of cover in line with the risks anticipated by Section 64 of Insurance Act, 2003,' Chilekezi stated.

In his contribution, President, NIESV, Mr. Bode Adediji, called on practitioners to embrace reforms in order to transform the sector. 'The overall environment of the real estate industry - the estate professional practice, the construction industry, property market and facility management - is currently engulfed in an unprecedented crisis accentuated by lack of any tangible and all-embracing response from the government, the relevant professional bodies and also by the organised private sector.

'Nigeria is supposed to be the giant of Africa with a population of 160 million, landmass of almost one million square kilometres, and with humongous petroleum and natural resources. Unfortunately, despite this uncommon attribute and endowment, her overall economy lies prostrate, while the property market terrain remains infantile, fragile, grossly underdeveloped but extremely noisy,' he said.

Adediji blamed estate surveyors for sacrificing the other areas of the profession in which they had core competence like property development, construction, project management, real estate investment advisory services and asset valuation for crude estate agency practice.

'Majority of the practitioners do conduct estate agency from the primordial framework of mere rent-seeking objective and perspective without endeavouring to add value, all this to the detriment of our profession and the nation's economy.

Consequently, our failure as individuals and professional practices to retool, to specialise, to synergise, to build capacity and to embrace international best practices have become too noticeable and cast bad shadow on our image as well as diminished our competitive advantage,' he added.