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ONE, TWO, THREE...Buildings collapse in one week

Posted by By TESSY OKOYE on 2007/06/27 | Views: 563 |

ONE, TWO, THREE...Buildings collapse in one week


Last week could pass for a week of tragedy as three buildings in Lagos crumbled like a pack of cards. In the tragedy, six persons lost their lives.

Last week could pass for a week of tragedy as three buildings in Lagos crumbled like a pack of cards. In the tragedy, six persons lost their lives.

Indeed, Saturday, June 16, would always play up a picture of macabre in the minds of residents of Oke-Arin district of Lagos Island. As the ever-bustling commercial- cum-residential area was savouring the relative peace that comes with weekend, suddenly, the unexpected happened.

A five-storey structure located at 31/32 Ergeton Street crumbled, taking with it, five souls, including two pregnant women and a little girl of three.

Barely 24 hours, after that, another building partially collapsed. One person was killed, bringing the death toll soared to six. The next day, another building also caved in.

As expected, officials of various rescue departments swarmed the disaster sites like bees on a honeycomb. After conducting snail- pace rescue operations and making policy statements, they disappeared.

Many of the residents, who bemoaned their fate, disclosed that the buildings, despite looking good from the outside, had serious structural defects, which had always been brought to the notice of the owners.
The building at Oke-Arin, which claimed five lives, was said to have been a one-storey structure before it was raised to four floors.

Mrs. Kehinde Olasetan, who resides on the third floor of the building, told Daily Sun that she was attracted to the house because of its proximity to her business place. Soon after, she started noticing some vibrations, but stayed on because of the difficulty of getting an alternative apartment in Lagos.
In 2006 alone, about five cases of collapsed building were recorded. The most tragic of them, which claimed close to 100 victims, was a residential building with 36 flats.

As expected, the incidents were blamed on poor construction. However, some experts noted that although the use of substandard materials by quacks could readily pass for an excuse, greater part of the blame should be heaped on the government.

According to Engineer Maurice Igwe, a structural engineer, apart from the strict adherence to building specifications, which would go a long way to forestall future occurrences, the high-handedness of the various agencies responsible for the monitoring of building projects needs to be checked.

“ Most of the agencies go around making illegal demands on most developers. This, they do, in the name of monitoring. Some go as far as blackmailing developers to part with money, all in the name of monitoring. At the end of the day, shoddy job are done and poor masses bear the brunt of the illegalities”, he added.

Another building expert also said that buildings without legal architectural specification should be pulled down promptly, rather than marking them for demolition and abandoning them.
“The 2006 Ebute Meta incident is still fresh in our memory. Many of the buildings marked for demolition by officials of the Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority still have people living in them. So when people accuse these officials of being corrupt and doing eye service, they should just accept it”, he added.

The General Manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the state government was not resting on its oars, as the issue has to do with lives.

According to him, there have been series of meeting and brain storming on ways to curb building collapse menace. However, he said that the problem, has to do with the attitude of the people.
“We cannot be in all places, and we have always appealed to Lagosians to bring to our notice buildings that they feel are not being constructed rightly. Issue of collapsed buildings would soon be a thing of the past. Many agencies are now going round to mark and seal for demolition buildings that pose danger to residents. This time around, we’re going to live up to our promise”, he said.

Also, the zonal co-coordinator of National Emergency Relief Agency (NEMA), Mr. Abdulsalam Mohammed, said apart from the agency alerting and mobilizing stakeholders when incident of collapsed building occurs, it has also put in place preventive measures.

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown