While families and sympathisers were still grieving and trying to recover from the death of at least two persons from the collapsed three-storey building at the GSM market in Beirut Road, Kano State on August 30, Lagos State witnessed yet another tragic building collapse of its own just three days after.
So far, four people have been confirmed dead with at least others trapped in the debris of a flattened seven-storey uncompleted building located near Sand Field Bus Stop in Lekki, Lagos.
Lagos building collapse in the state has become a constant scene in recent times, with similar occurrences recorded in Ebute-Metta, Lekki, Ikoyi, not forgetting that of September 12, 2014 at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ikotun, where over a hundred dead bodies were recovered from the rubble, representing the highest number of recorded deaths from a single structure collapse in the country in recent times.
The trend is also rampant in the African continent where people most times, ignorantly live in dilapidated structures as well as buildings in which application of construction standards is highly disregard, thereby resulting in needless avoidable deaths.
A South African university researcher investigating construction disasters, revealed that at least, 125 buildings have collapsed in Lagos since 2005, describing the recurrence of the incident as increasingly embarrassing, President Muhammadu Buhari called for an improvement in construction standards.
Experts blame poor workmanship, lack of due process and due diligence, use of substandard or shoddy materials, building more than the approved number of floors and corruption by building owners and construction companies to evade scrutiny of the building by authorities which has prevented the enforcement of safety regulations, for the incessant building disasters.
President of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) and a former chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu said, “The fact that we are in dire need of housing does not mean that we should build shoddy or substandard houses. Professionals should be engaged to play necessary roles in the built environment sector.”
However, the National Institute of Town Planners blame the government’s poor planning and lack of understanding of what town planning is all about, for the alarming trend. They therefore urged the government to fund planning and implementation to improve physical development in the country.
The Institute’s president, Olutoyin Ayinde said, “Nigerian governments don’t even understand what planning is and until they do that they cannot commit resources. The truth is that there’s nothing we can really achieve without planning so, we must be joking as a nation if we are not funding planning because alternative to planning is chaos which is what we live in.
“We might be seeing a few GRAs and you think you are seeing the real thing, go to the real city and see how we are experiencing congestion and floodings it is a sign that we are not doing anything about planning.Nigerian government must wake up. Those who want to become president must plan, until we plan, we are heading nowhere,” he warned.
It is important to note that either the government or the affected construction company or even the building owner, taking steps to cover up their actual defaults or circumstances that led to a particular building collapsing, is only an indication of lack of interest or will to pull out the plug from this deadly and continuous self-inflicted tragedy.