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Death toll in Lagos building collapse hits 30


Source: Daily Post

Source: Daily Post

Thirty people have now died in the collapse of a five-storey building under construction in an upmarket area of Nigeria’s biggest city Lagos, a rescue official said on Wednesday.

“We have so far recovered 30 corpses and the number of those rescued alive still stands at 13,” Ibrahim Farinloye, from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told AFP.

A total of 12 bodies were recovered since rescuers resumed work Wednesday morning, he added.

The fatal collapse happened after heavy rains in the early hours of Tuesday in the southeastern district of Lekki, which is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the city.

Lekki, made up of sprawling estates of gated communities of US-style suburban homes, has developed rapidly in recent years into a preferred location for wealthier Nigerians and expatriates.

Some detached houses can sell for millions of dollars.

Building collapses happen frequently in densely populated areas of Lagos, which is home to some 20 million people. Poor workmanship and materials, and a lack of official oversight are often blamed.

But collapses are rarer in wealthier districts.

The Lagos State government said in a statement that preliminary reports indicated work on the building was illegal but the order had been flouted.

– ‘Brazen act of defiance’ –
“The collapsed building was served (a) contravention notice for exceeding the approved floors” and was sealed by the Lagos State Building Control Agency, it added.

The owners of the building and promoters of the Lekki Gardens development, Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited, “criminally unsealed the property and continued building beyond the approved floors”.

The government called the owners’ actions “a brazen act of defiance and impunity” and said “integrity tests” should be conducted on all projects being handled by the company.

All work has been ordered to stop at the site and the owners told to report to the police within 24 hours or face arrest, Lagos State information commissioner Steve Ayorinde said.

“The State Government will no longer tolerate the action(s) of unscrupulous owners and builders who challenge its supervisory control thereby endangering the lives of Lagosians,” he added.

“The State Government has consequently directed the suspension of work at the site and ordered the Lagos State Police Command to cordon it off as it is now a crime scene.”

Lekki Gardens confirmed in a statement that construction had stopped in January “over reported structural defects” but made no mention of work having resumed.

It added: “Investigation is already under way to ascertain the identities of those affected as it is not company policy for site workers to take shelter in uncompleted buildings.”

The addition of floors without proper planning approval was ruled to have been a factor in the collapse of a church guesthouse in Lagos in September 2014.

A total of 116 people were killed, 81 of them South Africans, in the collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations complex of popular evangelical preacher TB Joshua.

Joshua, church trustees and two engineers are currently on trial for criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter.

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  • Evans

    First, I sympathies with the bereaved in this building collapse.
    Why should the writer bring in the case of Synagogue Church of All Nations into this matter? The scenarios are different. The writer claimed that: “The collapsed building was served (a) contravention notice for exceeding the approved floors” and “was sealed by the Lagos State Building Control Agency” . Was this same notice served to SCOAN? Of course no. Was structural defect discovered in SCOAN building before it accidentally collapsed? No report like that was published on our dailies – my primary source of information on matters like this! Look at the wreckage from the photo shoot in the post, a portion of the collapsed building, perhaps the portion of the building with the highest strength is still standing, thus substantiating that it is a structural collapse. In SCOAN, the entire building came down vertically and almost blended to powder. The CCTV footage posted show just that. Can we say that was a structural collapse? Well, not exactly! Expert’s claim about building collapse is that some portions (the stronger part of the structure) will always remain because not all corners can be equally weak at the same time. SCOAN’s case was not so. Let’s us look at the body language of people standing at the site of the building collapse at the time the photo on this post was taken. Some are pinging phone, others are standing complacently or loitering. I expected an anxious moment, people racing here and there as it should be in a rescue mission, various equipment and operation personnel doing serious work. Some personnel that looks like NEMA operations staff are even pocketing their hands. What lessons has NEMA learnt from the building collapse of SCOAN in which they were openly criticized of being nonchalant and indolent in their attitude during rescue missions? Well, if photos are to be believed, the one I am seeing suggests that NEMA needs to rethink the humanitarian nature of their duty. More lives could have been saved is they job were taken seriously.

  • prudence77

    Well, a nation that tolerated corruption for more than 16 years; unfortunately for the poor masses, should expect mishap like this. Why is this happening? The nation has no universal engineering or construction code. Look around Lagos there is some one out there whose name is Lawal or Oduduwa. But, wait a minute, he earned a degree in engineering, perhaps in architecture, and if you fail to identify him as Engr. Lawal, friendship might end. Building contract given to dangerously unqualified person because of brother, sister, and cousins are in the national assembly. Title means more to our people than ethics, professionalism and knowledge. Some construction people cannot identify correct steel bars for a certain construction project, not to mention types steel bolt and classes. But they are contractors. Ask in Lagos, there is association of Nigerian Architects yet buildings on every street in that city show some patent or latent structural and engineering stress. Until Nigerians youths mobilize and remove wicked, and stupid lawmakers out of Abuja and clean the system, the party is as usual. Given an opportunity, and the right guidance, a Nigerian 18 year old girl could come up with a breadth-taking architectural design for residential area in that Lagos where buildings collapse like dominos. Where is the contractor or architects? On the run. Shame on these enemies of Nigeria for your days are numbered.