At the background of the tragedy that struck in Lagos last week, where another building under construction collapsed and killed two of the workers, professionals in the construction industry called on Lagos officials to be more proactive in their oversight functions.
The affected building located at Nicon Town Estate, Admiralty Way Lekki, was partially caved in, killing two artisans who were working on the site.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that artisans were working on the casting of roof beams, including putting finishing touches to certain sections of the building when part of the building collapsed. on the workers, simply identified as
The victims simply identified as Tasiu and Abdullahi were buried under the rubble, with another person, also identified as Yakub critically injured and was taken to the Germaine Hospital for treatments.
Speaking on how to prevent the ugly development, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) Lekki Cell, in its assessment noted that there was indication of inappropriate form work propping, excess load on walls loaded with substandard blocks and wrong construction sequence that if closely monitored, would have avert the disaster.
Another professional, who is an architect, Ladipo Lewis, Chairman Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos Chapter, said building collapse is very complex because it emanate from various factors.
According to him, it could emanate from negligence, from ignorance, “and it can also emanate from the act of God.”
According to him, if one is going to develop a building and brought in professionals, they would know the processes involved and the risks inherent. “I am sure there is no one who wants to enter an aircraft with the understanding that the pilot of the aircraft, though, was his friend in school, but never finished school and never went to an aviation school, but absconded to become a carpenter down the road and he said he is the one going to fly the plane. I am sure you would get out of the plane.
But apart from developers, officials’ attitude to their oversight functions is less salutary, say experts in the industry.
Condemning what he called “treatment after death” attitude to issues by Nigerian officials, another building expert, Mr Sam Adenubi, noted that building collapse in Nigeria particularly in Lagos State in recent times are as a result of so many defaults both from government and private individuals.
Blaming government for always deploying retroactive responses, he cited example of visit by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Wasiu Anifowoshe to the Lekki site last week, and berated his comments.
According to Anifowoshe, “At the moment, the state government has taken the necessary steps; we have evacuated all the people that worked on the building and the property has been sealed off. It will remain sealed until we conclude our investigation,” said the Commissioner, who faulted the owner of the building for not displaying the ‘Project Board’ on the site of the construction as required, but said the ongoing investigation would reveal actual state of things.
“Since this is a case of partial building collapse, the first thing we are going to do is to conduct integrity test. The test will confirm to us whether the construction can continue or otherwise, after which the government will do the needful and the public will hear from us,” Anifowose said.
But these comments did not go down well with industry watchers. The questions being asked is where were the officials when these infractions are ongoing?
“Lagos residents also believe that government are familiar with fire brigade approach to issues especially when it concerns safety of lives and property. Immediately, after the collapse of the Lekki Gardens, sometime ago, Lagos State government ordered integrity test on other Lekkki Garden buildings, the exercise which observers perceived as ‘mere medicine after death,’ because the havoc has already been done.
The argument is that if government officials are up and doing in their responsibilities at the initial stage, the building and other losses recorded in those incidences would have been averted.
It would be recalled that in the wake of the Lekki Gardens building collapse, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode approved the dismissal of the General Manager of the Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr Adeigbe Olushola; the dismissal of the Head of Inspection and Quality Control in the Agency, Adeoye Thomas Adeyemi; the Zonal District Officer in the agency, Dosunmu Gbadebo, while the Zonal Head of Eti-Osa West of the agency, Mrs Akinde Adenike Sherifat was compulsorily retired from the civil service.
The argument was that the affected officers were dismissed having been indicted of negligence, which according to him, is an act of misconduct under the Public Service Rule 040401.”
So the question this time around is “would be sanctioned, sacked or dismissed?” asked Adenubi.
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