Issue of Building Collapse: Arresting A Recurring Incidence In Lagos State - Matrixliveng
Issue of Building Collapse: Arresting A Recurring Incidence In Lagos State

Issue of Building Collapse

issue of building collapse

  • Death Toll In Recent Collapse Rises To 5
  • LASG Order Prosecution Of Developer, Outrage Pours In
  • It’s Time To Stem The Tide, Says Concerned Nigerian

The issue of building collapse has been a recurring one in the country in recent times.

In the latest development, on Saturday, February 12, 2022, a three-story building under construction at No. 16 Akanbi Crescent, Onike, Yaba, Lagos State collapsed, killing five people so far.

Reacting, the Lagos state government has vowed to prosecute the developer of the three-storey building that collapsed in Onike area of Yaba, Lagos State for illegal construction.

In a statement titled: “Onike Building Collapse: LASG To Prosecute Developer For Illegal Construction” issued by Mukaila Sanusi, Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Ministry, he disclosed that the ministry has been mandated to liaise with the police so as to proceed to court and press charges against the Developer, who has been held for violating the State’s Physical Planning laws.

“The Government regrets the needless loss of lives and property due to his unlawful conduct and antics of defying stop-work orders as well as evading supervision.

“It is hoped that his prosecution will send a strong warning to all recalcitrant Developers that it is mandatory to Build Right and engage professionals in constructing buildings in Lagos State as we will not hesitate to bring to book whoever errs against the law”.

One person was rescued alive while two deaths were recorded from the incident.

Meanwhile, excavation of the site by emergency responders including the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) is still ongoing and will continue until it is levelled to ground zero” Sanusi quoted the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako.

Meanwhile, five bodies have been recovered while two others were rescued following the collapse of the building on Saturday afternoon.

An earlier statement by the ministry of physical planning and urban development had indicated that the developer — who is yet to be named — has been arrested.

According to the ministry, the developer returned to the site despite a stop-work order on the structure.

“Salako stated that preliminary findings indicated that the site had been sealed off twice by the Lagos State Building Control Agency in 2021 for non-compliance with building regulations after which the site was abandoned,” the earlier statement reads.

“However, the developer later broke government seal, sneaked into the site and re-commenced construction without official authorisation.

“The developer in charge of the site has since been arrested and handed over to the RRS Team.”

 A few months ago, precisely on November 1, 2021, a building collapse that will shock the country to its marrow happened at the heart of the most populous city in Nigeria, Lagos.

 The building, located on Gerald Road in the city’s affluent Ikoyi neighbourhood with almost 60 people reported dead.

The incidence of buildings failure and collapses in Nigeria has reached an alarming level and the stakeholders need to wake up and stop treating these continuous occurrences with levity. On several occasions, it led to unnecessary loss of lives and destruction of peoples’ properties, thus becoming an issue of major concern since it poses threat to the national development of our great nation. Because, on such every occasion, affected individuals are rendered homeless while businesses are lost.

Building collapse, though a common phenomenon all over the world, is more rampant and devastating in developing countries. It is a major problem in Nigeria and mostly occurred in Lagos, which has the largest population of residents in the country. In fact, it has now become a familiar occurrence, even to laymen on the streets in Nigeria.

The rising status of Lagos as a megacity and a commercial nerve centre in sub-Saharan Africa has come with a number of challenges. One of these is the safety of buildings.

In 2019, figures obtained from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, an advocacy group of building professionals, indicated that Nigeria has recorded not less than 43 cases of building collapses. The report showed that Lagos had the highest figure with 17 cases, accounting for about 39.53% of the total number of collapsed buildings.

Anambra state had the second-highest number with six collapsed buildings while Plateau and Delta states recorded three each. Oyo, Enugu, Ondo and Osun states recorded two collapsed buildings each in 2019 while Imo, Kwara Abia, Adamawa and Katsina states each had one building collapse incident.

Some of the most notable and devastating disasters in the country include the collapse of the guest house of the Synagogue Church of All Nations in 2014 that killed at least 115 people of which 84 of them were South Africans. It was also noted that the country recorded 27 cases of building collapse in 2015 with no fewer than 175 deaths recorded. In 2019, another three-story building in the Ita-Faaji area in Lagos Island collapsed which resulted in the death of about 20 people including primary school pupils.

Building collapses are common in Lagos and hardly a year passes by without cases and each time it results in the loss of many lives. For instance, it was reported that 115 buildings, mostly residential, collapsed in Lagos between 2005 and 2016. And about 4,000 families have been left homeless and traumatized. In addition, out of 152 buildings that collapsed in Lagos between 2005 and 2020, 76.6% were residential, 13% were commercial and 9.4% were institutional and most of them are typically multi-storey buildings.

Many of the documented cases of building collapse in Nigeria are due to the use of defective or substandard building materials, lack of requisite technical knowledge, non-adherence to building codes, standards and regulations, lack of maintenance, use of non-professionals and the high level of corruption which has ravaged every sphere of the construction industry including government and private parastatals.

In addition to the established causes of the collapse of structures, empirical data from developed countries of the world has shown that many of the recorded cases in these climes are due to the fact that the current codes of practice do not make provisions for unexpected loads and an unexpected failure of a single member may lead to an all-round collapse of the entire structure.

As a result of the collapse, outrage and condemnation have been pouring in with many blaming regulatory agencies for the incessant collapses while others said patronizing unqualified professionals and uses of substandard products are responsible for these constant tragedies.

According to Babatunde With-God Enitan; “It is quite unfortunate that we would make this kind of report shortly after the bad deed has been done and lives were also reported lost.

Also, this is a pointer to why the government and its agencies need drastic measures to curb this careless attitude of the so-called builder, many of whom are considered non-experienced builders and be jailed also.

Government would seal up a building for building non-compliance and people will still go ahead to carry out construction works.

In MUSHIN, we have many of such unprofessionally built houses and all, scattered around the community, but nobody seems to care about the dangers waiting to happen, if many of the so-called building are not checked or looked into, and until when people die, it is then we would see many reports flying around and been arrested and all.

We can prevent this from happening and the only simple way is to act now and swing into action before it is too late” he said.

On his part, Salami Lateef said; “Until the agencies saddled with responsibility of ensuring total compliance to building standard do the needful religiously, then we stop hearing this gory news.

They enjoy disturbing people that are building bungalows or doing renovation rather than doing proper monitoring of stories building. All that they know is money, they are ready to compromise anything as far as money is involved” he alleged.

Similarly, Owolabi Bukola said: “Building will continue to collapse when we continue to patronize unprofessional developers and regulatory agencies taking bribes to approve buildings.

Mark Adebayo agrees with him; “Oftentimes, the use of substandard building materials and sharp practices by building engineers are the major causes of fatal building collapses. Also, many builders don’t employ the services of quantity surveyors while undertaking construction, which is dangerous.

According to a concerned Nigeria, Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi, the right steps must be taken to stem the tide of constant building collapse.

“Generally, citizens, building professionals and the government must take a step-in order to prevent the common problem of building collapse in Lagos, and Nigeria at large. The responsible government agencies and professional bodies must create awareness of the need to obtain planning permission before building. They must also insist on the need to engage professionals in the construction of buildings.

State governments must fund all the agencies in charge of building regulation. They must also ensure that capable and qualified professionals are employed to ensure the implementation of building code regulations. This would go a long way towards effective and efficient building development in the entire country” he opined.

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