The initial firm handling the collapsed 21-storey building along Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, has said it pulled out of the site when its clients insisted on going beyond the 4-storey building.
The building, it was gathered, was under construction as at the time of the tragedy some few minutes past 2.00 pm Monday.
Blueprint gathered that about 50 persons, including the building owner and site workers, were trapped.
The company, which had earlier constructed two buildings on the site, the letter said, clearly told its clients it could not guarantee the integrity of the third building (which ultimately collapsed).
The firm – Prowess Engineering Limited – withdrew its services February 2020.
This, it said, was because it no longer shared the same vision with its client- Fourscore Heights Limited as contained in the letter.
Titled, ‘Re: Proposed Gerrard Terraces For Fourscore Limited,’ the letter was signed by the company’s managing director, Muritala Olawale.
“This letter is to formally inform you of the withdraw (sic) of our structural consultancy service from the above named project. We arrived at this decision due to the fact that we no longer share the same vision with you as our client in terms of how the project is being executed.
“We can guarantee the integrity of the first two buildings and also work done up to the fourth floor of the third building supervised by us provided specifications have been met in terms of the required concrete strength. This we do not have control over as we do not have the concrete cube test results of each stage of the building till date. Also, note that we are not taking responsibility for any other construction errors that may have occurred overtime on the project.
“Furthermore, we request that our company’s name and logo be removed from the project board and also kindly notify all necessary approving authorities of our withdrawal from the project,” the company said in the letter.
4 dead, 4 rescued ― NEMA
Meanwhile, indications emerged last night that no fewer than four persons had so far been rescued while four others were brought out dead from the rubbles of the collapsed building.
South West Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Ibrahim Farinloye disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos Monday.
NAN reports that many were feared trapped as the storey building under construction collapsed in Ikoyi.
NEMA team and that of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were still on ground trying to rescue trapped workers as at the time of this report.
Blueprint gathered that despite the rescue efforts, many were still trapped in the rubbles.
This latest building collapse is coming barely a month after three persons were reportedly trapped and another killed when a building collapsed in Ikorodu area of Lagos state last month.
According to eyewitnesses, the possible cause for collapse and number of persons feared trapped in the latest incident, could not be ascertained as at the time of this report.
However, unconfirmed report indicates that aside the destruction to cars and other properties and construction materials, about 50 persons were said to have been trapped.
LASEMA spokesman, Nosa Okunbo, confirmed the incident in a terse electronic statement which said: “A 25-storey building collapsed by Musliu Junction, Ikoyi, Lagos. LASEMA is on top of the situation.”
Similarly, the agency’s Director-General, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, in a brief response said LASEMA’s heavy-duty equipment and life detection equipment were already mobilised and deployed to the accident scene.
Osanyintolu said: “Collapsed Building at Gerard Road, Ikoyi: The agency has activated its emergency response plan to the above incident.
“All first responders are en route to secure the scene while the heavy-duty equipment and life detection equipment have been dispatched.”
The state deputy governor, Femi Hamza, Commissioner for Special Duties & Intergovernmental Relations, Seye Oladejo, his physical planning counterpart, Dr Idris Salako and LASEMA boss were all at the site of the incident.
An eyewitnesses in the neighbourhood said, “at least about 50 people are reportedly trapped under the rubble, including construction workers and other people who provided ancillary services for the workers.”
Timeline on Lagos building collapse
Building collapses are common sights in Lagos. Hardly does a year pass by without cases with some resulting in the loss of many lives.
For instance, it was reported that 115 buildings, mostly residential, collapsed in Lagos between 2005 and 2016. And about 4,000 families have been left homeless and traumatised.
Meanwhile, the Lagos state government is yet to issue any statement on the incident, but a reliable source within the state’s ministry of work informed one of our correspondents that the ministry was still waiting to be briefed on the situation.
Blueprint further gathered that scores of construction workers, including the owner of the building were reportedly trapped under the rubbles.