Why Buildings Will Continue To Collapse In Lagos—Ex-Commissioner

While wailing and lamentation continue over the rising number of deaths in the collapsed building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi Lagos, public analysts and building experts have offered different perspectives to the awry situation.

On Monday, November 1, at about midday, a high-end apartment block under construction crumbled, resulting to 22 deaths as officially released by the government early Wednesday.

Rescuers have been combing through the rubble of the high-rise building in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos in search of more survivors.

Among the first line of action taken by the state government led by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, is the suspension of Gbolahan Oki, the general manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), over poor supervisory role.

But speaking on Arise TV Wednesday morning, Dr. Lanre Towry-Coker, a Nigerian architect and the first Commissioner for Works and Housing in Lagos State at the return of democratic practice in Nigeria in 1999, said though the government’s first line of actions in the collapsed building are commendable, the state is partly responsible for the rising menace of collapsed buildings in the system.

He stated that the Lagos State government does not have the required numbers of professionals to monitor and ensure builders’ compliance to set standards.

“They don’t have the number of professionals to enforce regulations,” he noted.
He explained that as far as Logos government has not updated its regulatory agencies with certified professionals from the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) and other professional bodies, building collapse may be a recurring incident in the system.

Meanwhile, agitated families whose loved ones are missing are wailing and others prayed in small groups for the safe return of their relatives.

As tempers flared, a few got into a scuffle with government officials, demanding to be allowed to help with the search effort.

High-end apartments have been springing up in Ikoyi, and the collapsed building was part of three towers being built by private developer Fourscore Homes, where the cheapest unit was selling for $1.2 million.

The project developer and owner of Fourscore Homes, Olufemi Osibona, told a local news channel in August that he had developed buildings in the London districts of Peckham and Hackney and that the Ikoyi apartments were the start of bigger projects he planned in Nigeria.


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