Home Innovation Reconstructing the Embattled Northeast of Nigeria Through Local Technology

Reconstructing the Embattled Northeast of Nigeria Through Local Technology

By Jack Vince


Guinness Book of World Records chronicling the creativity, business ingenuity and employment generation capabilities of individuals and institutions from across the world is replete with the names of geniuses who defied the norm and dared to explore uncharted heights. Inventors and creators of wealth and employment dot the economic landscape of the world from one continent to the next. As a result, the world is made a better place because of the contributions of these people and groups to science and technology, arts and humanities and to disciplines responsible for providing better and effective means of transportation, housing, business and so on.

Could this breakthrough be the desired panacea for housing problem in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, the youths have always had the erroneous impression that working for government upon completion of tertiary education is the apex of career goals. Over the years, however, experience has proven that the wanton dependence on government for employment and provision of basic and other needs is counterproductive because it puts pressure on the dwindling rate of employment in the country and is responsible for the witless desire by stakeholders to import goods and services (that could be produced locally) from abroad. In our tertiary institutions of learning, graduates are churned out annually and unleashed on the overstretched labour market without using the knowledge they acquired from school to innovate, create jobs, empower others and become nation builders. Unfortunately, ours is a system that not only kills creativity, but fails to put mechanisms in place for people with knowledge and skills to build on their assets and compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the world. That, anyway, is a story for another day.

Photo Credit -: Fati Abubakar

In Maiduguri, a young man, Mohammed Kyari, an astute graduate of Architecture and an industrious personality in his own right, made a decision not to go job hunting after graduation. Instead, he pulled together a team of young and vibrant architects and engineers from within the state to start a construction company (FANI Nigeria Limited) that is one of a kind in the northeast and country in general. The young men improved on existing technologies by reconfiguring imported building machines to formulate hybrid versions that are compatible with local materials used for moulding strong, effective and durable bricks that are relatively cheap, affordable and could be used for constructing low income housing units. As a result, the young men have started a revolution in housing construction with accruable benefits through the value chain. Also, different machines were reconfigured to make interlocking bricks of different colours and housing bricks that are highly resistant to shock, vibration and compaction. A prototype lintel used for eliminating any cost implicating timber material considered obsolete is made by the ingenious young men using local technology. Could this breakthrough be the desired panacea for housing problem in Nigeria?

It is highly resistant to weapon and heat. No penetration through the wall occurred even from a close-range of gunshot during a demonstration, a quintessential bullet proof.

The brick is a product of a careful and professional study of the soil in the locality coupled with building engineering and architectural ingenuity. Fine aggregate sand is extracted from Alau deposit along Maiduguri-Bama road or from the Chabbal deposit along Maiduguri-Gubio road in Borno State. The importance and benefits derived from using the bricks for building cannot be overemphasised. It is highly resistant to weapon and heat (thermal insulation). No penetration through the wall occurred even from a close-range of gunshot during a demonstration, a quintessential bullet proof. It is also weather friendly and the condition inside a house built with the brick is cold and conducive for a place like Maiduguri because heat is eliminated completely as a result of the compact grain. The northeast and other localities with hot weather stand to gain from this revolution in construction. The fabrication of this unconventional brick using 100 per cent local materials and technology is a brain-child of FANI Nigeria Limited. The brick eliminates the use of mortar for (brick) laying; thereby making that aspect of construction superfluous. The construction brings skilled and unskilled labour together. Architects, engineers, bricklayers, masons, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other technicians are employed to make up the work force.

Quite noteworthy is the fact that for conventional bricks, 80 bags of cement are used to produce 4000 blocks; while with the local technology created by Mohammed Kyari of FANI Nigeria Limited and his team, 4000 blocks could be produced using only 15 bags of cement. In a similar vein, a housing structure that could cost N3 million using conventional materials could cost a mere N1.8 million using the local technology. This is, undoubtedly, an extraordinary feat of technology that is consequent upon revolutionising construction and low cost housing as we know it.  Houses built with the brick are easy to construct and easy to maintain. It could be painted, plastered or not without losing its aesthetic value.

Yes, if you make it look like an electrical fire. When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all. I just want to talk. It has nothing to do with mating. Fry, that doesn’t make sense. Quite possible.

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