Lagos State tops the list of fatalities as over 271 buildings collapsed in the last 10 years, documents obtained from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild have revealed.
The documents showed that 271 collapsed buildings represent 50 per cent of a total of 541 recorded cases in the country between 1974 and 2022.
Out of the 271 collapses recorded within the past 10 years, at least 531 persons have died as the menace of crumbling structures continues to plague the nation’s built industry.
Findings also revealed that professional ineptitude ranging from excessive loading, use of substandard materials, faulty design, poor workmanship and weak foundation accounted for a significant fraction of the collapses recorded during the period in review.
Out of the 271 collapses recorded in the past decade, 115 cases, representing 42.4 per cent of the total number, were recorded in Lagos State.
Most tragic and perhaps notable of the cases was the collapse of a part of a multiple-storey building inside the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, which left more than 80 worshipers dead, while several others were critically injured.
The structure, which reportedly collapsed at 12.45 pm on September 12, 2014, served as a guest house for foreigners, who usually thronged to the church in search of miracles.
There were different accounts as to how the building, located in the New Land area of the church, caved in.
While the General Overseer of the church, Prophet Temitope Joshua blamed “aircraft hovering” for the tragic event, documents obtained from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild described the cause of collapse as “uncertain.”
Also worthy of note was the Lekki Garden building collapse, which occurred on March 8, 2016. The event, which occurred at Horizon 1, Ikate in the Lekki area of Lagos State, claimed 35 lives while many others were left in critical condition.
Investigations that followed weeks after the event revealed that the construction project did not have the necessary approval from regulatory authorities.
On 1 November 2021, yet another calamity struck after a high-rise block of luxury flats under construction in the neighbourhood of Ikoyi in Lagos, collapsed. At least 45 people perished beneath the rubble of the collapsed structure.
Speaking exclusively with The PUNCH, a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Builders, Kunle Awobodu, blamed weak regulations for the incessant cases of building collapse in Lagos State.
According to him, many quacks have been emboldened by the fact that regulatory bodies and relevant apparatuses of government have been unwilling or unable to prosecute and convict persons found culpable of professional ineptitude with regard to incidents of building collapse.
Awobodu said, “I was part of the committee that created some of the agencies. There is a difference between policy formulation and implementation. One of the things we discovered was that the staff strength of the building control agency is low compared to the vastness of the Lagos built environment.