Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, is back in the news after a seven-storey building under construction collapsed on First Avenue, in the Banana Island area of Ikoyi.
The latest incident in the exclusive neighbourhood of some of the wealthiest Nigerians brings to fore what seems to have become an incident common in the southwestern state.
While residents try to figure out why Lagos has continued to be in the news for cases of building collapse, building experts question the role of government agencies in the approval processes for buildings in the state.
A Former President of Nigerian Institute of Building, Kenneth Nduka says the inability of government to prosecute those responsible for building collapses in the country is a factor fueling reoccurrence.
‘Let me integrate backwards, there have been collapses and these collapses have been investigated. I am yet to hear or maybe I am not being so cognizant of what is happening, but I am yet to hear that Mr. X or Mr. Y has been sent to jail because he participated in the development of a building that has collapsed.’ Nduka Said
Nduka while reacting to the collapse of a seven-storey building under construction in Lagos called on the Lagos state government to ensure buildings in the state are constructed under proper guidelines.
‘If you are using material, there is a specification of the type of material you use. If you are going to start a multistorey building, it should be such that there should be geotechnical investigation of the soil.” Nduka says.
Officials of the state government who visited the site of the incident said rescue efforts were in top gear to find whoever was trapped under the rubble.
On Thursday, April 13 a team of Lagos state government officials were on the scene of the incident for an on-the-spot assessment.
Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyitolu, Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency says the rescue team swung into action on getting to the site.
‘With our combined effort, we were able to recover seven people alive. Those people that were rescued were treated on the spot and discharged.’ Oke-Osanyitolu said.
‘One was transferred to a private hospital where he is receiving adequate treatment.’ He adds.
Mobolaji Ogunlende, Special Adviser to Lagos Governor on Special Duties and intergovernmental relations gave an update on the rescue effort .
‘Lagos State Emergency Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS) were already on ground by the time I personally got here, they had treated about 7 to 8 minor injuries on getting to the scene. And a few of them we felt needed to go to the hospital have been taken to the hospital.’ Ogunlende said.
When asked of the fatality figure, he said ‘In terms of fatalities which you asked, as of this moment we have not recorded any fatalities. We are here, our equipment is here, what we are trying to do now is to see how we can go through the rubble very quickly to say if and indeed any fatality we can recover.’
According to the Lagos State health authorities, out of the 25 persons rescued by emergency responders, 16 victims who sustained moderate injuries were receiving treatment.
Africanews Correspondent David Agunlouye Tayor reports that the Building Collapse Prevention Guild in Nigeria says Lagos State has recorded 115 building collapses in the last 10 years.