Govt Buildings Integrity –Ogun Building Collapse Defies Experts’ Claim | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Govt Buildings Integrity –Ogun Building Collapse Defies Experts’ Claim

Site of the Ogun Shopping Mall collapse in Abeokuta
Posted: May 25, 2016 at 1:38 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nkasiobi Oluikpe


Lagos – A few weeks ago at a building collapse seminar in Lagos, various professionals in the built environment, took turns in eulogizing the structural integrity of government’s buildings, emphasising that ‘governments buildings do not collapse’ because they always engage the services of professionals.

Ironically, last Friday, a four storey ultramodern shopping complex in Itoku Market, Abeokuta, owned by the Ogun State government, collapsed, killing a member of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and leaving several others injured.

Reports have it that the contract was originally awarded to Alaba Lawson, the Iyalode of Egba land and owner of Alaba Group of Schools, who in turn re-awarded it to another firm, name withheld.

Commenting on the development and refuting the claims that government buildings do not collapse, former national president of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Kunle Awobodu stated that it is so unfortunate and that promulgators of law must strive to live by the laws they promulgate.

“It is unfortunate because government must live by example. Those who promulgate laws must try as much as possible not to be found wanting. Honestly that will not be the first time a government building will be collapsing. Even in Lagos, it has collapsed, one at Oshodi, government building also collapsed at Alausa. It is not an acceptable development.

“Government projects are given out to contractors and those contractors might not be professionals and might not engage competent professionals, so that loophole is there.”

While advising that government must find out if a professional builder was involved in the construction, Awobodu indicated that God has a way of mitigating against greater losses as those buildings were supposed to be occupied by marketers on completion.

“If it had happened when it is already occupied, it would have been disastrous”, he said

The Ogun State chapter chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Building, Fadayomi Ogun, who visited the site, revealed that a lot of things could have been responsible for the collapse, including awarding contracts to wrong individuals.

“There are a lot of things that could cause that. Most politicians in Nigeria hardly take time to study who and who is responsible for which aspect of construction. In building as a whole, the responsibility of builders is to be present on site to coordinate activities of artisans and interpret work drawings and specifications on that site.

“If a builder is not resident on that site, it is just like where a nurse is doing the job of a doctor that is quackery. So, I wouldn’t want to preempt anything, but let’s be through with our investigations first, we would come out with a statement”, he said

Meanwhile, Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the UPN while commiserating with families of the victims of the collapse, they have called for the probe of the contractors that handled the construction job.

In a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Bolaji Adeniji, the party accused the government of the state of being culpable in the incident.

“The PDP has always stated that this government is insincere and biting more than it could chew. Most of its projects are poorly conceptualised, unnecessary and self-aggrandising and without any meticulous or rigorous planning. The projects are never subjected to competitive bidding and usually awarded to lackeys of the governor who receive ridiculous monies to execute poor jobs.

“Of all the jamboree projects of Governor (Ibikunle) Amosun, only the Ibara-Totoro Road barely passed the integrity test of structural scrutiny. The flyover bridge at Ijebu-Ode is a disaster waiting to happen as many of its joints are already giving way and had been patched several times”, the statement read

Similarly, Olufunmilayo Oginni, the Ogun State UPN chairman, lamenting the loss of her party members stated: “I urge the (state) government to please tell the entire citizens of Ogun State what happened, who the contractors are and why they have not acted with due diligence. They must be brought to book.

“It should be noted that our party lost a member from Ward 4, Abeokuta South Local Government in person of Mrs. Naimat Oloponda, in this incident and we commiserate with her family and others affected.”

Also, Gboyega Isiaka, the PDP chairman in Ogun State remarked thus: “I have heard about some private projects suffering this type of unfortunate fate but with capacity to put in place a control, monitoring mechanism and measures in the custody of civil service professionals; it is rare in government project from tax payers’ money.”