Nigeria Needs To Regulate Her Interior Design Sector – Binta Suleiman

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There is a huge need to regulate the Nigerian interior décor sector and bring in a great degree of sanity into it, for it to become a huge revenue earner for the nation, an interior decorator has disclosed.

Speaking during the Denim 2016 Interior Décor Fair held at the International Conference Centre exhibition pavilion recently, lawyer-turned-interior designer and convener of the exhibition, Binta Suleiman, pointed out that besides trying to bring the true art of interior décor closer to Nigerians, the event was aimed at bringing together some of the nation’s best interior decorators within the city of Abuja and from without, in order to introduce them to growing markets.

“We have an interior design firm where we offer interior design services, furniture supply and making – which is a lot – and, seeing as I do not have the background [even though I had been trained for this on-line and in the United Kingdom], I began to wonder if one person could pull off all these. I made up my mind and decided to go into deeper research to broaden my knowledge of the industry.

“When I looked at the Nigerian model, all I see is that the industry is in shambles. Yes, we have an organisation, but there is no regulation. Every other girl, woman or aspiring man on the street is an interior decorator. What we have on our hands is an industry without structure. I have decided to do this for life and, to be candid, I thought of what to do to correct this anomaly.

“We must organise the industry, so that everyone would get something from it [because it is a very big industry]. We decided to start a school. I brought together a team that studied the foreign curriculum and decided on who we are, what works for us and how to apply what works. In the end, we came up with something tailored for Nigerian interior designs and, since we began in November 2015, we have had about 60 students,” Suleiman said.

According to Suleiman, when these young people graduate from her school, they need to be recognised by the law and by the education authorities.

“These are some of the things we need to fasahion out. Our interior design graduates need to undergo the NYSC service and be entitled to employment like the rest of the graduates. The industry is huge, because construction work springs up daily and the industry would be swarmed with job, but we need to be regulated, organised and ready. This, I think, is a great place to start, to begin to understand who we are [Africans], what we do [African interior designers] and how we can improve ourselves, form an organisation and see how we can get standards set in place, so that the government can realise that we are here. This can help them provide a job market for us and realise the need for a local designer when a foreign company is coming to do construction,” she said.

Suleiman pointed out that the potential in the sector was too good to be overlooked, so the symposium/exhibition was worth it.

Suleiman also pointed out that forming an organization would help the body go into collaboration with the various state governments and, even the Federal Government, in order to create and sustain hubs for interior design in different areas of the country.

The symposium/exhibition saw different interior designers put up their goods for display, ranging from fragrances, upholstery, ornaments, fine stones etc. Lots of folks turned out to see, recommend and purchase various items on display at the exhibition which was graced by the representative of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mallam Mohammed Birma, as well as a number of notable public figures.


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