Governor Sanwo-Olu Seals High Rise Building in a Bid to Prevent Calamity

The Lagos State Government has been working feverishly to address the environmental pollution that is slowly engulfing Ikoyi’s tranquillity, and it makes no apologies for its determination to stamp out any act of lawlessness in the area’s burgeoning real estate industry. There is no denying that the once tranquil pricey abode is giving way to the now raucous noisy landscape dominated by the super-rich.

The four towers (each with ten floors) being built on Gerrard Road were intended to be an architectural masterpiece that would add luxury and beauty to the serene Ikoyi landscape. Apart from the primary motivation of profit, the builders must have had that in mind. It, therefore, rings hollow when such a massive project was seen under lock and key a few days ago, with a large inscription instructing that work on the property be halted.

What could have prompted such a directive? According to the findings, the Lagos State Government is furious with the property developers and owners for embarking on such a project without first obtaining procedural approvals from the state government and other authorities tasked with ensuring quality and compliance with standards. In other words, the massive project has been put on hold due to a lack of required approvals, with the Lagos State Government acting swiftly to put a stop to it.

According to an inside source who requested anonymity, the State Government took the action to seal the building to ensure that a repeat of the March 8, 2016 collapse of Lekki Gardens Estate’s on-going six-story building would not occur in the state.

“It is unheard of that the owners of the Ikoyi project in question would embark on such a capital intensive project without obtaining required approvals for a project as massive as that. Gone are the days of negligence on the part of the government when people flout the law. Sealing up the project is law taking its due course.

“The owners of this project have shown themselves to be defiant and obstinate, in that the state ministry of Land and Physical Planning had been calling on them too without paying attention to what the ministry had been calling their attention to.

“It does not benefit the state to stop economically viable projects like the project on Gerrard Road in Ikoyi, but the responsibility falls on the government that all rules and regulations guiding such buildings are strictly adhered to.

“What the government has done is to halt further construction with a view to assessing and evaluating the extent to which the builders had adhered to the building code. The state will take it up from there.

“The government will not fold its arm and watch people behave recklessly without order and accountability. We are talking about people’s lives here. The state will no longer tolerate such attitude from anybody no matter how highly placed they may be,” the source said.

In recent years, building collapse has become a common occurrence in Lagos State. In 2016, there were about six (6) fatal building collapses in the state alone. Technocrats and analysts have blamed the high incidence on faulty construction processes and/or poor physical development control at various times.

Building collapse results in a waste of financial resources, and in some cases, a waste of human life. It also results in a waste of time spent on construction and clearing debris on the site after the collapse, as well as a waste of building materials. When this occurs, the construction company’s reputation is also harmed.

In November 2015, the six-story building at Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos State collapsed, killing 116 people. The one in Lekki Gardens in 2016 claimed the lives of over 30 people.

Substandard building materials, bad design, wrong foundation, wrong site, bad use of the structure, poor technology, and inexperienced contractors were found to be the leading causes of building collapses over the years. The buildings do not have approved building plans from the local government or the state ministry of Land and Physical Planning in the majority of cases.

Buildings that have collapsed have had their quality compromised due to the materials used, the faulty design in place, or the poorly made-up ground on which they were erected. Some Nigerian projects are doomed to fail because the project owners or sponsors refused to hire qualified project managers, engineers, and contractors.

It is common knowledge that projects begin with the client, who, in most cases, commissions his architect to design the project. He then hires a project manager to oversee the planning and execution of the project. A structural engineer must be hired to design and supervise the structures for any project with more than one floor.

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