BUILDING COLLAPSE: GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN PREVENTION OF FUTURE TRAGEDIES
The collapse of a 21-storey building dubbed “360 Degrees Towers” (a.k.a Luxury in the sky) on 44 BCD Gerrard road, Ikoyi on Monday, November 1 is no longer news.
Proposed view on completion of the 21-storey
However, the rate at which buildings have collapsed in the last one year, with Lagos taking the lead raises cause for concern.
360 Degrees Towers represents one of the high-rise edifices gracing the highbrow area of Lagos, which collapsed, though two of the projects are still standing.
A letter, which surfaced after the collapse incident, stated that Prowess Engineering, believed to be a consultant to the project, wrote discontinue its service as a consultant following its observed non-adherence to structural standards and material testing and specifications needed to guarantee a formidable structure.
Prowess Engineering Limited, the construction firm that began the construction of the building was said to have withdrawn their services from the project in February 2020 on the possible compromise in the structural construction integrity of the building.
According to reports, approval was given for only 15 storey buildings as against the collapsed 21-storey building under construction.
Also, worthy to mention is the monumental building collapse incident that threw the entire nation and Africa into mourning in September 2014. The collapse of the guest house of the Synagogue of All Nations church killed more than 100 people, most of them foreigners who were in Nigeria to attend his services.
In addition, 60 deaths were recorded when the roof of Evangelical Reigners Bible Ministry in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state collapsed in December 2016. The occasion was the ordination service of the local bishop which attracted a mammoth crowd inclusive of top government officials among other dignitaries.
Intelligence sources reveal that there had been some construction work at the Evangelical Reigners Bible Ministry church before the service. There was no envisaging that a few minutes after the start of the service that the roof would cave in and collapse, leaving several people dead.
Recall that Eons Intelligence had also, on Thursday, April 30, 2020, reported the collapse of an eight-storey building at Yaradua drive, New Owerri area of Imo state leaving at least two dead and several others trapped.
Before the collapse of the hotel in Owerri
According to the report, the eight-storey building was said to be a hotel under construction. It was billed to be the biggest in Owerri, hence, its collapse was a colossal tragedy. About 25 workers were said to have been trapped in the ongoing construction of the building at Owerri at the time of its collapse, with no cue given to the reason for the collapse.
After the collapse of the hotel in Owerri
Furthermore, the collapsed building at Ebutte Metta on July 24 left one dead, with several trapped according to Nosa Okunbor, Spokesperson for the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency. The collapsed Ebutte Metta building was situated opposite a health centre along Cemetery Street.
Six persons managed to escape alive when a three-storey building collapsed at 20, Freeman Street, Lagos Island in July.
In the same vein, the collapse of a three-storey building at 19 Church Street of Adeniji Adele Street on Lagos Island led to the untimely death of a 5-year-old boy, while many others got severely injured.
It was gathered that the building suddenly caved in while some of the occupants, including the deceased child, were asleep.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Director General, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, who confirmed the incident, noted that a beam partially collapsed on the boy, killing him.
Though investigation revealed that the building had been slated for non-integrity test because of visible cracks on the beam and columns of the building and the tenants had been asked to evacuate the building which had been cordoned off for the safety of residents, no follow-up was put in place to ensure compliance.
The rampant rate of collapsed structures seems to gradually become a common occurrence in Nigeria, especially with respect to building structures.
However, to date, no prosecutions seem to have been made from the litany of building collapse. Roles played by State Building Agencies and other governmental bodies in the prevention of such occurrences remain vague. Reports from panels set up to investigate such cases are not made public as such incidents fizzle away with time.
As the death toll at the Ikoyi 21-storey building collapse reaches 44, Nigerians are desirous to know efforts in place by the government to prevent future calamities in the constructions’ sector (building, bridge, road etc).