‘Most Nigerian kitchens are substandard, disease incubators’

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Prince ElokaNnamani is the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer of Halcott Ltd, a company that provides latest technology in wood services.

The company is specifically into building and Real Estate services; building materials and general building support.

According to Nnamani, the company has also diversified into provision of latest technology in wood services as regards all aspects of wood finishing in the house such as kitchen furniture and house furniture, among others. He spoke to CHUKS EZE in Enugu.

What do you do at Halcott?

We are into building, estate development and production, sale and supply building materials. We are into provision of general building support as well as provision of latest technology in wood services; we do everything about wood finishing in the house.

We usually get involved in building projects just after the carcass, to do all the fittings that have to do with wood; including the wardrobe, bathroom and toilet as well. We have state-of-the-art kitchens, doors, wardrobes and all those departments that have to do with wood.

Halcott boasts best products and services as far as wood finishing is concerned. We have an ultramodern factory where we do our production. We also do supply of security doors and provide consultancy services. For instance, we assist those embarking on hotel business to manage their spaces adequately to avoid wastage of apace.

We as well help in managing kitchen spaces and as well carry out standard, professional installation of kitchen fittings. And apart from our security doors which we import as company representative, we produce all other products that we offer here in Nigeria.

What is your new office complex in town about?

It is for diversification mechanism. We are trying to import European technology in kitchen and general wood finishing, and we are planning to establish the factory here in order to discourage all forms of importation of products.

We have already secured another site to take care of that project, which is on-going as we speak. Some of our machineries are already on ground, and the project would be a job-generation venture when it fully comes on stream. We are discussing with some partners for the acquisition of more modern top range machines so that when we finish our jobs locally here, it would be exactly like top products anywhere in the world, with special fortification to sooth our climate.

How long have you been into the business?

Halcott was registered in 2007 and to the glory of God, we have been growing from strength to strength. We are pleased that every step in the company has been an improvement. We had gone through supply stage, company representative stage, and now we are manufacturer. We have really come a long way and we are grateful to God.

How important is the kitchen in the building?

Kitchen is about the most important department in a building. It is in the kitchen that the food we consume is prepared. A kitchen that is not well organised and well-structured could portend serious health danger. A lot of dirt is often generated in the kitchen when food is being prepared, and appropriate measures should be taken while constructing the kitchen to ensure that dirt, flies, pests and rodents are completely warded off.

Would you say that Nigerians accord adequate importance to the kitchen while embarking on residential building projects?

Honestly, we do notgive enough importance to the kitchen. If you look at a typical kitchen in the western world, you do not need to be told that the kitchen is an essential part of their residential buildings.

In advanced climes, you can stay in the living room and be accessing the kitchen; it is not hidden. But down here, some buildings do not even have kitchen at all. We do not place enough value on the kitchen.

That is why we are running a campaign at Halcott, to educate people on the importance of creating a befitting kitchen in their homes.

What would you say is the reason our people are slow in making standard kitchen an essential part of the building, in this clime, even when Nigerians are considered about the most travelled people on earth?

I think the reason is culture-based. Naturally, we do not attach special importance to our kitchen in tis clime. It is a culture that is being introduced into the system. You would notice that most of our traditional houses do not even have kitchen at all.

Our people used to build their kitchens separately from the main residential building. But in organised climes, kitchen is used to display pride. However, the good news is that our people are gradually appreciating the importance of investing in a good kitchen.

A well-organised kitchen wards diseases off the home, unlike most kitchens in Nigeria that are best described as disease incubators. It is almost impossible to find flies in a well-structured house because a lot of professional measures are taken during the construction to ensure that it is as highly safe. So, I think that women should commence national campaign to protest against non-provision of standard kitchen in modern buildings in the country.

Paucity of fund has been given as one major reason why people shy away from constructing standard kitchen. How do you react to that?

I think that it is rather a matter of scale of preference and prioritisation than paucity of fund. At Halcott, we are propagating a revolution in the building industry to encourage people to take the kitchen as most essential part of the building because the kitchen is even more important than the sitting room. We are trying to raise a new culture in that regard.

So, the notion that putting up a standard kitchen is an expensive but unimportant venture is a misnomer. At Halcott, we are in the business of giving the kitchen professional touch. There are so many things that are not supposed to be seen in the kitchen, and we have accessories that can keep things in order and out of sight in the kitchen. It is not possible to find rodents inside kitchens that are done by us.

There is immense need for developers to engage building finishing experts before embarking on building construction. Many people do not know that most sicknesses that occur in various homes are due to substandard kitchens.

What other parts of the building do you consider very essential?

They are the wardrobe, toilet and bathroom. Most times you see a house being designed without wardrobe. That is because they do not find it very important. And even those that manage to include it lack knowledge of how standard wardrobe should be. There is no reason why clothes should be scattered around the room in the 21st century world.

The thing is that once you have an organised kitchen, wardrobe and proper toilet and bathroom, not much is needed to have a wholly organised home. A section of Halcott Limited deals with provision of consultancy, sale, supply and fitting of proper tabs and proper toilet and bathrooms in building. And we provide best range of products that can match any top range standard anywhere in the world.

There is general apprehension over continued influx of inferior building materials in the country, which has reached an alarming stage. What do should be done about that development?

Government should take the issue of standardization very seriously; and that includes areas of building approvals as well as production and importation of building materials. Government should encourage its relevant agencies to partner effectively with the media to educate people on the importance of adhering to official standards in building and building finishing.

It is not just about building a house but also about doing it the proper way. Government should also be serious about enforcement of standardisation to save citizen’s lives and the nation’s economy. Various official regulators should as well ensure that only officially approved products are allowed to be brought into the country.

But above all, government should fashion out modalities, just as we are currently doing at Halcott, to bring in foreign technologies to start manufacturing building materials locally, rather than bringing in finished products from abroad. It is better, cheaper and more reliable to manufacture products locally as that creates jobs and grows the nation’s economy.

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