Building Collapse: Raise the Alarm on Suspicious Construction, Lagos Urges Residents

  •  Warns developers, property owners against altering approved building plans

The Lagos State Government wednesday urged Lagosians not to hesitate to raise the alarm if they suspect any discrepancy in the construction of any building within their vicinity.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowoshe, who spoke when he visited the site of the building which collapsed at No 3/5 Massey Street in Lagos Island on Tuesday, said Lagosians must join hands with the government and report property owners and developers where they sense any irregularity during construction.

“My advice for Lagosians especially the tenants that live in these houses, we have been saying this times without number, if you see your landlord doing anything dangerous to your safety, please be a whistle blower, make noise, tell us, let government know in advance. We were informed that this mast was erected two weeks ago. If the mast had not been erected we might not have had this ugly situation. Please be on the look-out, let us be our brothers’ keeper,” Anifowoshe said.

Anifowoshe, who commiserated with families of victims who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, said the state’s emergency response team spent over 24 hours combing the rubbles to rescue trapped victims and convey them to the hospital, adding that a thorough investigation would be conducted to unravel the cause of the collapse.
“Presently, the site has been cordoned off and there will not be any development on this site because any site that collapses in Lagos State, the law says the state must seize the property,” he said.

Also speaking, General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr. Olalekan Shodeinde, alluded to the fact that government could not tackle the menace of building collapse alone, hence Lagosians must be willing to assist by raising alarm whenever they see any illegal development in any area of the state.
He said the spate of building collapse in the past years has reemphasised the fact that both the government and the people need to collaborate more than ever, not only to stem building collapse but also ensure that people build in compliance with physical planning laws.
He said: “Dealing with illegal developments here and there in Lagos State should be a joint effort between Lagosians and government. We need information of such unlawful activities from responsible Lagosians so as to be able to curb the excesses of unscrupulous developers and owners of property in the state.”

Shodeinde also said the present administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was committed to achieving zero tolerance to incidences of collapsed buildings and therefore would not fold its arms and watch citizens die avoidable careless death without taking precautionary measure to nip it in the bud.

He also warned building owners and developers to desist from imposing additional floors to existing buildings without obtaining necessary approval, saying that such could lead to building collapse and loss of lives.
According to him, it was suicidal to engage in such act without carrying out a thorough engineering appraisal and integrity test on the structure.

Explaining what led to the collapse, the LASBCA boss said the building, a four floor structure which was built with bricks, caved in due to foundation failure when the bearing capacity of the soil could not sustain the structure due to the load being transferred from the additional imposed load of communication mast erected on the building about two weeks ago.
Shodeinde said the building after several inspection rounds in the past did not show any sign of distress even though the structural member were constructed with gravel as granite.

“The additional load imposed on the structure added to the design capacity and loading being transferred through the structural members made the building heavier than the capacity of the soil which is the ultimate load bearer,” he said.