Coroner blames government agencies for Ikoyi building collapse

Who exactly should be held responsible? (INSIDE)

Collapsed building in Ikoyi, Lagos [LSHA]

On Tuesday, the Coroner, O. A. Komolafe gave the verdict on an inquest instituted by the Lagos State government, NAN reports.

Background story: A 21-storey building under construction on Gerard Road caved in on November 1, 2021.

More than 40 persons — including Femi Osibona, owner of Fourscore Homes, the developing company in charge of the building — died when the structure collapsed in November.

The Coroner's gathered facts against the Lagos Government: Komolafe noted that the building’s density and setback on the site showed a gross violation of the Lagos State Building Regulations.

He said the project board, which should have shown the important information, such as the names and addresses of the professionals engaged, was deliberately not provided.

Komolafe noted that the act showed that the approving and supervising agencies did not sanction the offender, suggesting that they were compromised.

Who exactly should be held responsible?: The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) is in charge of monitoring structures.

What caused the collapse?: The chief magistrate found that the structural failure was due to design errors.

Komolafe said there was a lack of quality assurance/control and poor management of the project.

The coroner adopted the recommendation contained in the Council for the Regulations of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) report on the collapse.

Earlier this year: Testifying before the Ikeja coroner’s court Tomide Akinnawo, chief engineer and COREN’s head of Lagos liaison office, said their investigative panel noticed that the project board mounted at the site of the collapsed building hid vital information about the construction.

“The contractor did not give an address and phone number,” he said.

“It is inappropriate, the project board hid a lot of sensitive and important information.

“The contractor or the client needed to have been sanctioned by the state development control bodies because information on the project board is not detailed.

“COREN has the mandate to visit sites, and anytime we visit sites, we limit our visit to the area of coverage which is the engineering aspect of that project.”

What COREN discovered on site: According to Akinnawo, COREN uncovered another construction (Block D) built behind the original three high-rise structures at the site.

He said the investigative panel was not granted access to the site until the coroner ordered the access.

What the government is currently doing: In June 2022, Dr Idris Salako, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, disclosed that the government would take about three months or more, to demolish the leftovers of the building, adding that the land on which the structures were situated would be taken over by the state government.

Our Observations: work on demolition has commenced on the site, and residents within the area have been notified appropriately.

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