It has become a harvest of collapsed buildings in Lagos in less than one week, as another three-storey building still under construction located in Satellite Town area of the state collapsed yesterday, burying three middle-aged men. Daily Sun who was there gathered that the building located at Liverpool Estate, Zone 2, Satelite Town, Lagos collapsed in the wee hours of yesterday.
Neighbours who preferred anonimity told Daily Sun that three labourers who slept inside, including two whose names were given as Ebama and Issa were all trapped in the collapsed building still under construction on a water-logged plot of land. It was gathered that landlords within the neighbourhood opposed the erection of the three-storey building on the site, which was reported to the local government council, also had been marked for possible demolition by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) before it collapsed.
The Satellite Town suburb in the past 30 years was said to be approved for only bungalow buildings and not storey buildings, which had become a common structure in the area. However, it was learnt from a senior officer of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCAS), who preferred not to be mentioned, that the building was marked for demolition immediately after the foundation by federal agency but FHA never bothered to monitor if the construction was still ongoing at the site.
The officer said the materials used for the pillars and decking of the building were not fit for a three-storey building. The Lagos State Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, who expressed concern on the spate of collapsed buildings in the state, blamed the situation on the system, namely the Federal Government, house builders and manufacturers of sub-standard construction materials.
The commissioner, who was present at the scene lamented the approach of the Federal Government agency on approval for housing construction, hinting that the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) could not determine if anyone was buried in the rubble until it has started excavation of the rubbles. “We have assignment at hand since June 2003. The Federal Government is not to grant approval anymore but you can see their markings around the walls of these buildings. If we are upholding the rule of law, you don’t need to see any marking. If you check the papers of these houses, some of them have approval dated 2003.
That means they are being backdated but issued now by the federal agency in charge. It is difficult to convince me that you got the approval 10 years ago because part of the requirement is that after two years of getting the approval you need to re-validate it. “There are lots of illegalities. My approach is for us to look at the system because it concerns everybody. It is a system that needs healing, from the government to the landlord using sub-standard materials to build a house.
“No one can confirm if anybody was in the building when it collapsed but by tomorrow our officers will use the excavator to clear the rubble,” Ayinde said. As at the time of filing this report, a combined team of the Nigeria Police Force, LASBCAS, Fire Service and LASEMA were helplessly moving around the collapsed building.