FOLLOWING the collapse of a three-storey building located at the Ita Faji area of Lagos Island on Wednesday, the Lagos State government has commenced demolition of some old buildings in the area that had already been marked for demolition.
According to Lekan Shodeinde, the General Manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), about 180 houses will be demolished in the exercise, 20 of them will be brought down on Friday.
Shodeinde said owners of the buildings had been served several notices some dating as far back as 2013.
The collapsed building was reported to have been marked for demolition a number of times, but the demolition was not carried out until it came down on its own on Wednesday. Unofficial reports put the number of casualties at 16, while 41 were injured and are currently receiving treatment in hospitals in the state.
Many of the victims were school children as the building housed a primary school on its second floor; a school which has been described as “illegal”.
Governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode, when he visited the scene of the collapsed building, regretted that the calamity was allowed to happen despite the fact that the building had been marked for demolition.
“The building is not technically a school, it is a residential building that was actually accommodating an illegal school so to speak on the second floor,” Ambode said.
“Like we have said, we have been carrying out a lot of integrity tests on the buildings in this neighbourhood and as you can see, some of them have been marked for demolition but we get resistance from landlords but we must continue to save lives and we would intensify our efforts to see that those have failed our integrity test, we would ensure that they are quickly evacuated and we bring the structures down.”
Also, on Thursday, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the National President of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Kunle Awobodu, said there were several other buildings in the state that were on the verge of collapsing.
“There are over 1,000 distressed other buildings of this nature in Lagos, which, if nothing is done to demolish them, they will still collapse, resulting to more calamities in the state,” Awobudu said.
“We are moving round the circle and this has to stop. Let the building control agency take the bull by the horn, by ensuring that all distressed buildings in the state are identified and demolished.”
Former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, also expressed similar sentiments in his letter of condolence to the families that lost loved ones in the building collapse.
Tinubu stated that if everybody had done what was required of them after the collapsed building was marked for demolition, “perhaps this terrible incident would have been averted”.
“The government must fast-track demolition arrangements once a building is discovered to be weak and deserving of being pulled down to save lives,” he stated.