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Designer of Collapsed 21-Storey Building Claims He Warned Owner, Lagos Govt Says Approval Given for Only 15 Floors

Designer of Collapsed 21-Storey Building Claims He Warned Owner, Lagos Govt Says Approval Given for Only 15 Floors

About 10 persons reportedly died on Monday when a 21-storey building collapsed on Gerard Road in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State around 2pm when workers were on the site.

Many people, including the Managing Director, Fourscore Heights Limited, Mr Femi Osibona, who owned the building, and some of his clients and engineers, were initially trapped in the rubble.

Emergency responders at the scene included the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, police, army and paramedics.

The Lagos State Government, while reacting to the incident, called for calm among residents.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, in a statement, said rescue agencies were on ground to save those under the rubble.

He added that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had ordered an investigation into the incident, adding that a report of the probe would be made public.

The state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, in a statement on Monday, said investigations had commenced to unravel the cause of the collapse.

The statement added that the general managers of the Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority were on the ground to make a summary assessment on the extent of damage to the surrounding structures, if any.

The state Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, said it was important to cordon off the scene of the incident to facilitate the efforts of professional rescuers and limit casualties.

The Co-ordinator, Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Ikoyi-Obalende Cell, Bola Arilesere, said in an interview with one of our correspondents, “No building of that scale under construction should collapse unless it was pulled down or some explosives were planted to destroy it. So, something went wrong technically.

“It is likely that some people deliberately tried to cover it up. We only had the structure in place; it suggests a sub-structural failure. We need to dig deep.”

The President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Prof. Yohana Izam, expressed sadness over the incident and the “monumental loss of material resources and human fatalities.”

“There should be a thorough investigation to test the implementation of physical planning and development laws in Lagos and ensure that culprits are heavily sanctioned,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the company that designed the structure and supervised the construction, Prowess Engineering Limited, said it withdrew from the project in 2020 because it no longer shared the same vision with the owners, Fourscore Heights Limited.

The Managing Director, Prowess Engineering Limited, Muritala Olawale, in a letter to Osibona on February 20, 2020, said his firm could not guarantee the integrity of the building from anything above the fourth floor.

Olawale, who handled two other building projects for Osibona, said his company was withdrawing from the third one because “of how the project is being executed.”

“We can guarantee the integrity of the first two buildings and also the work done up to the fourth floor of the third building supervised by us provided specifications have been met in terms of the required concrete strength. This we do not have control over as we do not have the concrete cube test results of each stage of the building till date. Also, note that we are not taking responsibility for any other construction errors that may have occurred overtime on the project,” the letter read in part.

The News Agency of Nigeria quoted the general manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Gbolahan Oki, to have said the owner of the building got approval to construct only 15 floors but exceeded the limit.

 

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