Grim year: Nigeria had 43 building collapses in 2019, study says

There were 43 building collapse incidents in Nigeria in 2019, according to data compiled by the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), an advocacy group of built environment professionals, reports newspaper, Punch.

The country’s biggest city, Lagos, saw the highest number of incidents, with 17 cases, just under 40% of the year’s total. The next highest was Anambra State, with six collapsed buildings.

The higher number looks like an indictment on building control agencies– Kunle Awobodu, NIOB president

According to BCPG’s figures, 59% of the collapsed buildings in Lagos State were existing structures while 41% were under construction.

Previously, the BCPG warned that 36,000 building collapses were waiting to happen in Lagos alone.

The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) called for government action, and for lessons to be learned from the Lekki Gardens building collapse in 2016, which killed 34 people, and the 2014 Synagogue Church collapse, in which 115 died.

NIOB president Mr Kunle Awobodu told Punch: "The higher number looks like an indictment on building control agencies, either there is no mechanism for monitoring or the policies have some shortcoming."

He complained that construction in the country had become infested with unqualified builders.

"On every site, there should be a builder to monitor the process. The onus is on the builder to ensure that nothing untoward happens on that site because the recent development is bad for the image of the built environment. But we have many cases where non-professionals are in charge," Awobodu said.

He urged government to prosecute people found responsible for building collapses, to deter others.

"Allowing people to go free after a crime will create precedence for others," he told Punch. "Until recently, no one has been prosecuted. It was through the effort of the BCPG and other stakeholders that the government has been able to secure prosecution of people over Lekki Gardens and Synagogue collapsed buildings," he added.

Image: ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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