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Scene of the collapsed Ikoyi building

Collapsed 21-storey building had poor workmanship – SON; 5 victims still unidentified – Pathologist

Scene of the collapsed Ikoyi building

Stories by Moji Eniola

Ikeja, Feb. 17, 2022

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has revealed that the collapsed 21-storey high-rise building located on Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, which collapsed on Nov. 1, 2021, had poor workmanship.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two engineers and staff of SON, Mr. Kareem Adisa and Mr. Ibrahim Aliyu, said this while testifying on Thursday at an Ikeja Coroner’s Court.

They were led in evidence by Mr. Yusuf Lawan, the counsel to SON.

The witnesses revealed that following the collapse of the high-rise, SON’s Special Task Force led by the Chairman, Mr. Enebi Shuabu, immediately swung into action.

They said members of the taskforce went to the site and collected samples for laboratory testing and analysis. The samples include: concrete rubbles, slabs and steel bars (iron rods).

Adisa in his evidence, revealed that he was a Regional Director of Operations of SON and was also a member of SON’s Special Task Force.

“The test report shows that the workmanship on the site and method of reinforcement were poor.

“The coarse aggregate was so few and not well supervised. The mix proportions of the cement, sand and gravel were not correctly done.

“If I am to give an example in lay man’s language, if he was supposed to use five caps he used three caps. If there was adequate supervision, it could have been corrected,” he said.

Adisa, however, noted that most of the building materials conformed to standards when they were tested in the laboratory.

Throwing light on the iron rods used at the site, Adisa said Fourscore Heights Ltd. had used six products from six different manufacturers.

He said most of the iron rods conformed to standards except the 10mm iron rods.

“The 10mm rods did not conform to standards. There was also poor workmanship in the placement of the reinforcements,” he said.

When cross-examined by Mr. Akin George, the counsel to the Lagos State Government, Adisa said SON had on its part carried out due diligence.

“What we did before the collapse we did, which is by making all the verified products in the markets have the SON certification barcode.

“It is now left for the town planning and building authorities to ensure that there is compliance with building standards,” he said.

Aliyu, the second witness said he was the Assistant Chief Standards Engineer for SON and was also part of the Special Taskforce.

He said the samples from the site of the building collapse were taken to the SON laboratory located in Enugu for testing and to two independent laboratories for a comparative analysis of the results.

“Based on the test reports, majority of the samples met the requirements of SON. The two samples of 10mm and 16mm iron rods were less than the required standard.

“The results from the three labs were in agreement with one another, the differences were not much,” he said.

Responding to questions from George, Aliyu noted that some 10mm rods were placed in wrong areas during construction of the collapsed high-rise.

“It could have been as a result of negligence that the 10mm rods were used in a different area,” he said.

The Coroner, Mr Oyetade Komolafe, adjourned proceedings until Feb. 18 for continuation of hearing.

NAN reports that of the three high-rise buildings (Blocks A, B and C), which were situated on Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Block B (21-storeys) collapsed killing 50 persons.

A White Paper Report of a six-man panel set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has recommended that the remaining high-rise buildings have failed structural integrity tests and will be pulled down through controlled demolition.

The developer, Fourscore Heights Ltd., is also to be prosecuted by the Lagos State government due to negligence. 

 Meanwhile, a pathologist, Dr Sokunle Soyemi, has revealed that five deceased victims of the 21-storey building are yet to be identified.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Soyemi, who is the acting Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, said this while testifying at an Ikeja Coroner’s Court on Thursday.

The pathologist, in his testimony, said there were 50 victims of the collapsed building (47 male and three female); 45 have so far been identified and their ages range from 18 to 56-years.

Soyemi said autopsies on the bodies commenced on Nov. 4, 2021 and lasted for 13-days until Nov. 13, 2021.

Revealing the causes of death, he said, “so far we have identified 45 bodies out of 50. The autopsies revealed that 40 deceased had multiple injuries as cause of death.

“Six had injuries to the head alone and died. One had bilateral fracture of the femure.”

The pathologist said the remains were put in 53 body bags because an additional three body bags had contained body parts of the deceased victims.

On the physical state of the corpses, the pathologist said the bodies could not be visually identified and samples had to be taken from the bodies for testing at the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre.

“After about a month, we started receiving results from the lab. As we were receiving the results we were also releasing the bodies to families and up till now, we are still releasing bodies.

“At present, of the 45 identified bodies, 42 have been released to family members while the remaining three have not been collected by family members.

“When there was a call for family members to come and donate samples, some people who were not related to the deceased came forward and the samples could not match.

“We had to call again for new samples from family members which came in about two weeks ago,” he said.

Soyemi in his evidence revealed that he never visited the site of the collapsed building during the course of his duties. He also noted that death certificates had been issued for the deceased.

One of the deceased was Mr. Femi Osibona, the Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Ltd., the contractor of the project. 

The coroner, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, adjourned proceedings until Feb. 18 for continuation of hearing.

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