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Sunday, 31 March 2019


…Concerned Civil Group, Experts speak on issues around collapsed buildings and solutions

The noise of the collapse of the now ill-fated building in Itafaji that housed a school is gradually dying down, especially with the demolition of more of such defective buildings in the area.

However, despite the demolition leading to ground zero of the building, emotions are still up in the air. All around the area, concerned citizens come around to see how they can contribute to alleviate the stress or pain of victims or gtheir families in the area, And while they are there, they cast looks at the space that hitherto housed the building where lives were lost or missing.

We spoke to some concerned persons and civil groups that are there to solve someof the immediate emotional problems and these also speak on causes and proffer solutions to collapsed building in our society.

UK returnee and CEO of Arise Foundation For Women, Youth and Family Development is one of the person whose organization is presently coming round to Ita faji area after the mishap to counsel victims and their family. Pastor Joke Akinsete is of the believe that government needs to do more. “Government needs to step up to help her citizens, they must come in and help these people, we the NGOs cannot do it alone. For instance our resources are limited. We are trying in the area of counseling and prayers. We have prayed with them here and just doing that co soles them and energises and gives them balance.

“This is mental and spiritual, majorly mental, psychological because somebody, a young child like five or six years old, who witnessed his friends die in the collapsed building or was under the rubbles will definitely go through a lot of stuff. So we have to let them go through psychological counselling exercise so they would not be remembering their friends, the building collapsing on them or how they were under the rubbles. It is more of psychological and also pray for them to be okay within a shortest time.”

 Joke Akinsete furthermore advised that the government should provide education for the citizens, because, if the government schools are good, people will send their children there. The government has the capacity to put in place safety precautions; they would put measures in place, measures that will make the children safe; they are learning in a safe environment. So, if the government can step in to reform the school, the education system, provide a good education for their citizens, then the private schools would not exploit the citizens.

Asked her opinion on the aspect that people were actually warned about the building being defective but they remained there? Akinsete replied: “Am not sure that if someone knows that a place is bad or dangerous and the person has option, that the person would want to stay. It's because the poverty rate in Nigeria is too high. That's why we the NGO have been doing a lot, even providing empowerment for the youth, women and widows in the communities like Makoko, Sangotedo, Ayetoro, Eti-Osa; in all these communities, the poverty level of the people is very high.”

Barrister Ayo Ademiluyi, Co- Convener of Lagos Anti-Demolition Movement advice that Government should provide an alternative accommodation for the people that the exercise affected. “That building had been marked for demolition but was allowed to exist up to the period it collapsed. “ He said he is pissed off at the commercialization of education and licences issued to mushroom Nursery and primary schools operating in dilapidated building.”

Professor Maurice Fangnon, Centre for the Defence of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CDHRDA) on his part appeal that the houses being marked for demolition should be truly tested not fake test under the pretext of test. The test that the landlord wants to sack or evacuate the tenants by going to Lagos State building control agency because cases like that pass through our desk on daily basis.

“Before demolition there must be proper evacuation that no one is in the building before demolition. There should be censor of the people living in the house, and giving alternative accommodation before embarking on such exercise. Government should provide alternation before demolition not regimentally system should be used. Environmental effect on the people should be taken into consideration. We are saying that government should embark on mass demolition, but with caution because we had something like this under General Adisa who demolished poor people’s houses under military era.

Quantity Surveyor Deji Olufemi is presently more concerned about the quality of builders and the materials that are used for building projects. “I am a registered quantity surveyor and project manager, I have been in real estate development and consulting for about 30 years, our strength has been in using certified professionals to avoid buiding deficiency. “There is a large housing deficit in Nigeria someone estimated about 70m housing unit deficit so there’s big room for housing development and individuals cannot do it alone because of the high cost in housing development. Government has to come in to provide enabling environment and also assist real estate developers. So there is still very big room for housing development.”

“The lifespan of a building is between 70 and 100 years. When a building is more than those years, it will either be out of fashion out of date and some already having structural defects. They may still be standing but the aesthetic is no more there and it can never be like when it was newly built. In civilized societies, after a hundred years, a building is pulled down and redeveloped. In some cases the building can be re-modeled of for instance there was a structural defect, you put a new structure there.

“If an old building is like 80 years and not well maintained it should be is pulled down but instead one or two more storeys are added especially in a densely populated areas where more money can be exploited. When storey buildings are raised, meanwhile the foundation remains the same so if the foundation cannot support the weight of the building, it collapses. When low bearing capacity of the soil is more than the weight, there are bound to be movement of the soil and when there is soil movement, the building will begin to crack. If the soil movement is not uniformed around the building, then one part of the building will collapse and the other will remain that is what is called differential soil movement and that will cause the building to crack. When the building is loaded the foundation will fail.”

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