Checking for frequent building collapse
the The recent collapse of a three storey building in the Yaba area of Lagos State has raised new concerns over the recurring cases of building collapses in Lagos State and other parts from the country. Only one person was rescued alive from the rubble while five people died from this unfortunate incident.
The collapse of the building, which was under construction, came months after the collapse of a 21-story building in Ikoyi, Lagos, which reportedly killed more than 40 people. The Ikoyi incident was quickly followed the next day by the collapse of a two-storey building in Lekki, Lagos State.
Although building collapse occurs in virtually all parts of the country, Lagos State has recorded more such cases. Apart from Lagos State, such incidents have been recorded in Anambra, Imo, Abia, Kano, Kwara, Benue, Taraba, Ogun, Ondo and other states. Available statistics revealed that more than 461 buildings have collapsed in the country and more than 1000 people have been killed from 1974 to 2021. According to reports, Lagos State led the rest in collapse cases of buildings and accounted for 50 reported cases of incidents between 2013 and 2019. It was also reported that out of 84 building collapses that occurred in the country between 2011 and 2019, only 21 occurred outside of Lagos State.
For example, a five-storey building collapsed on Tinubu Street, Victoria Island, Lagos in 2011. Additionally, in 2014, a guest house on the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the area of Ikotun-Egbe in Lagos State collapsed and more than 100 people, including foreigners, died or were injured. In 2016, a five-storey building collapsed in the Lekki area of Lagos State and killed as many as 35 people. Similarly, in 2019, a three-storey building collapsed in the Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island, killing 20 people.
It is unfortunate that Lagos State still records frequent building collapses despite the measures put in place to control such incidents. In 2016, the Lagos State Government marked for demolition no less than 40 distressed buildings located in parts of the state including Lagos Island, Ebute-Meta, Bariga, Surulere and others.
The frequent building collapse in the state can be due to many factors including failure to adhere to approved building plans, building codes and the use of substandard building materials as well as the use of charlatans or non-professionals in the construction of houses. There is no doubt that the inadequate monitoring of buildings by the regulators in Lagos State must have triggered the relentless collapse of buildings in recent times.
To address the issue, the Lagos State government needs to develop workable measures to ensure that relevant regulatory bodies in the building sector are aware of their responsibilities. In particular, officials from the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), the Physical Development Permit Authority of Lagos State and the Materials Testing Laboratory of the Lagos State must perform their duties diligently.
In addition, the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and the Nigerian Society of Engineers must ensure that qualified professionals are engaged in any construction project. In the same vein, the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) should ensure that quality materials are used in the construction sector.
We condemn the frequent collapse of buildings in Lagos State and other parts of the country, and the resulting loss of life and investment. We call on the government and relevant construction agencies to work in concert to control the threat. We urge the Lagos State Government to muster the political will to prosecute the developers of all collapsed buildings and others involved in approving the construction plans. This is the time when the government must show its fangs and deal with those responsible for the recurring building collapses in the state.
It has become imperative that all state government officials, especially those in building regulatory agencies, found complicit in this matter, be prosecuted and adequately punished. It is by punishing all those responsible for frequent building collapses that the government can prevent such incidents in the future. Perhaps implementing the panel’s recommendations on the Ikoyi Building Collapse will go a long way in stemming the threat.