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Yet another interesting piece of information and evidence has been uncovered about the collapsed 21-storey building in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
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Since the high-rise building collapsed Monday afternoon, it has been top of the discourse across the country even at a time there are prime topics in the polity. And rightly so considering this 21-storey building is the tallest building to ever collapse in the country.
The concerns and attention the building collapse has gotten have led to a lot of unsettling information being uncovered about the circumstances surrounding the construction of the building.
The first was that the Lagos State Government approved only 15-storey for the property owner as against 21-storey. Another was the withdrawal of a contractor from the project on 5th floor, claiming sharp practices that bring the integrity of the project to question.
What Was Recently Uncovered
On Wednesday, a video surfaced online showing how Femi Osibona, owner of Fourscore Homes, the developer of the collapsed building, resisted the sealing off of the property.
In the two-minute video clip, dated 2020, a group of men, who appeared to be officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, insisted on sealing off the building, but Osibona attempted to stop them from doing so.
He was aided by a group of policemen who shot into the air to disperse the officials of LASBCA and onlookers.
While the cause for the collapse is yet to be ascertained, Obafemi Hamzat, deputy governor of Lagos state, had said work at the collapsed building in Ikoyi was once stopped after it failed a structural integrity test.
He said LASBCA sealed off the premises for four months when some “anomalies” were observed.
Gbolahan Oki, the now-suspended general manager of LASBCA, had said Osibona was given the approval to construct only 15 floors.
“He got approval for a 15-storey building and he exceeded his limit. I am on the ground here and the materials he used are so inferior and terrible,” Oki had said.
“The materials he used, the reinforcement, are so terrible. He got approval for 15 floors but built 21.”
Also, Prowess Engineering Limited withdrew its services from the building in 2020 over poor execution of the project.
In a letter that has now gone viral which was dated February 20, 2020, Muritala Olawale, managing director of the engineering company, said the firm can no longer vouch for the integrity of the building.
LATEST On Casualties At Collapsed Building
The number of bodies recovered from the collapsed building has risen to 36, this is according to the latest update gotten from an emergency official.
Since Wednesday afternoon, 15 additional dead, including two previously reported, have been retrieved from the Lagos site, according to Ibrahim Farinloye of Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.
As the rescue operation began its fourth day on Thursday, scores of families and residents queued up at the entrance of the premises and asked to help in the rescue mission, despite gun-wielding troops’ warnings that they should keep away.
“They couldn’t allow me to check whether my son is alive or dead,” said Abel Godwin, who came 448 kilometres from Abuja to see the hospital where casualties are being treated in the hopes of finding his 18-year-old son, who had worked there.
Since Tuesday, no survivors have been recovered from the rubble, despite the fact that nine people were hauled out alive earlier.
It is still unclear how many people are still trapped underneath the debris, but one construction worker believed that 100 people were working on the site when it collapsed, suggesting that about 55 are still missing.
Governor Sanwo-Olu Orders Integrity Test On All Buildings Above 5-floors Under Construction
As a way to forestall further occurrence of this tragedy Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has directed that integrity tests be conducted on buildings above five floors that are under construction within the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu announced the directive during his visit to the scene of the collapsed structure at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi on Wednesday, saying there would be a comprehensive review of all the buildings above five floors under construction in order to sanitise the building environment in the state.
He said: “There will be a comprehensive review. I have asked the Ministry of Physical Planning to give me a detailed list of all buildings that are five floors and above that are under construction in Lagos. I asked for that list last night (Tuesday) and I hope they will give it to me later today (Wednesday).
“This is going to be due diligence that we are going to conduct with the private sector. We are probably going to work with a lot of professional institutes so that we can quickly go round and see if we can do integrity tests and non-destructive tests on the buildings.”
Sanwo-Olu also hinted that he had set up a high-powered Commission of Enquiry, composed of members from outside of government to investigate the cause of the collapsed building and submit the report in 30 days.
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