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ARCON, NIA dispute deepens amid court order over conduct of examination

There appears to be no let off to a persisting dispute involving regulatory bodies of the architecture profession, who have taken the matter to a court of law.

Mr Njoku Adibe
Mr Njoku Adibe, NIA president

Since November 2015, the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) have been at loggerheads over who among the pair should conduct qualifying examinations for budding architects.

The face-off has led to the non-registration of a considerable number of architects, who had sat for and passed the professional qualifying examination.

Things may have gone from bad to worse as a High Court in Abuja has reportedly restrained ARCON from conducting the qualifying professional examinations for the registration of architects in the country.

In a statement issued on Saturday, August 3, 2019 and signed by Abiodun Fatuyi, General Secretary of the Lagos Chapter of the NIA, Justice Muawiyah Idris made the order upon hearing of a motion of exparte dated May 30, 2019 and moved on July 30, 2019.

“In the motion filed by concerned architects and some of them that passed the qualifying examinations conducted by NIA and supported by a 45-paragraph affidavit, the applicants urged the court for an order of interlocutory injunction against the defendants,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the applicants named ARCON, its President, Mr Dipo Ajayi, NIA and its President, Mr Njoku Adibe, as defendants.

It said the originating summons had urged the court to  determine whether by the provisions of sections 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 of the Architects Registration Act, CAP A19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the roles of ARCON extends to the conducting  of qualifying examinations for architects in Nigeria.

“The applicants are asking for a declaration that the function of ARCON is the regulation of architecture only in Nigeria, which include the registration of architects who have sat and passed the qualifying examinations.

“They also seek a declaration that the body required to carry out and conduct qualifying examination for the registration of architects in Nigeria is the NIA,” the statement said.

The aggrieved architects among other things also asked for a court declaration that the professional qualifying examination to be conducted for the registration of architects in Nigeria is the Professional Practice Competence Examination, which must be in accordance with the Constitution of the NIA.

In his ruling on the motion marked M/6824/19, Justice Idris granted the reliefs sought by the applicants and adjourned hearing on the originating summons till August 8, 2019.

The court also ordered that the summons be served on the NIA and its President.

Construction industry experts have however called for a speedy resolution of contentious issues between both bodies.

By Lilian Okoro

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