At least 50 people were reportedly trapped under the rubble after a 21-storey building collapsed in Ikoyi, Lagos State of Nigeria.
The building, located at 20, Gerrard Road, collapsed at about 3 p.m. on Monday. Many were feared dead.
The Managing Director, Fourscore Heights Limited, Femi Osibona, who owned the building, and some of his clients and engineers, were said to be among those that were trapped in the building.
One of the workers who survived the incident, Gabriel Bassey, told a news correspondent that, “This project, 360 Degree, was built by Fourscore Homes Limited. I was trying to plug my phone and not up to five seconds that I left the spot, I saw the building coming down and I ran to safety. We have a lot of people trapped in the rubble, who we need to bring out.
“When the incident happened, we brought out six dead bodies and we still have like 30 Togolese and Nigerian bricklayers and four engineers and other workers. My boss, Mr Femi, is still trapped in the building. He was on the 18th floor with some of his clients, who wanted to buy the building, when the incident happened.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, confirmed the death of five persons, adding that three others were rescued alive.
The Co-ordinator, Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Ikoyi-Obalende Cell, Bola Arilesere, noted that, “No building of that scale under construction should collapse unless it was pulled down or some explosives were planted to destroy it. So, something went wrong technically.
“It is likely that some people deliberately tried to cover it up. We only had the structure in place; it suggests a sub-structural failure. We need to dig deep.”
Meanwhile, the company that designed the structure and supervised the construction, Prowess Engineering Limited, said it withdrew from the project in 2020 because it no longer shared the same vision with the owners, Fourscore Heights Limited.
The Managing Director, Prowess Engineering Limited, Muritala Olawale, in a letter to Osibona on February 20, 2020, said his firm could not guarantee the integrity of the building from anything above the fourth floor.
“We can guarantee the integrity of the first two buildings and also the 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,” the letter read in part.
The General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Gbolahan Oki, says the owner of the collapsed 21-storey building, under construction in Ikoyi, was given approval to construct only 15 floors.