The construction industry in Nigeria is marred by building collapses. From shantytowns unapproved buildings to state-of-the-earth approved buildings in urban cities, building collapse is common; some structures are now ramshackle and rickety while many are prone to collapse: cumulative effects of poor standards.
Many of our buildings are disaster in waiting. It is not dramatic if unapproved buildings collapse, but what strike the imagination are seeing buildings that have gone through all government procedures and got approval before the first block is laid still collapsing. It is ridiculous when the builder brags of the craftsmanship of the edifice while the foundation crumbles.
Collapse of buildings in Nigeria, especially edifices in urban cities is now a yearly or so ritual. The Minority Whip and member representing Kaura Federal Constituency, Hon. Gideon Lucas Gwani has thought of a viable way to meander out of the predicament; at worst limit the spate of building collapse in the country.
In November, 2021 he moved a motion for a Bill for an Act to establish the Construction Material Standardization Agency that will standardize the control of use of materials for the construction industry in Nigeria and related matters, which has already scaled the Second Reading.
“This Bill seeks to establish the construction material standardization Agency, which will be saddled with the responsibility to regulate and control the use of sustainable standard construction materials in Nigeria. It will reduce the threat of building collapse in the country,” has said.
Gwani unequivocally added: Researchers have done some studies in the past and found out why buildings are collapsing frequently in Nigeria. I looked into the reports of some of these renowned researchers. There are so many reasons for building collapse: design of the infrastructure, the use of poor or sub-standard building materials, hasty construction work, structural defects, the use of unqualified professionals, overloading of structures that are designed not to carry the loads they are eventually subjected to, obtaining illegal approvals of buildings or structures, illegal conversions of land use property, heavy downpour of rain, lack of proper drainage systems. However, the most problematic cause is the use of sub-standard materials.
The recurring menace of loss of lives in some building collapse in Nigeria has given us grim evidence that it is calling for legislation. “We need to legislate to set a body or establish an agency that will specifically carry that specific duty of regulating and controlling the use of sustainable standard construction materials in Nigeria. This Bill simply seeks to ensure compliance with all legislations and regulations both in the importation, sale and production of building materials so that we can have a monitoring body. The Bill seeks for better monitoring modalities specifically in the use of sustainable standard construction materials,” he concluded.
Some notable Building Collapse in Nigeria
*Multi-storey building, Mokola, Ibadan, Oyo State (1974)
*Barnawa Housing Estate, Kaduna, Kaduna State (1980)
*Mosque building, Osogbo, Osun State (1986)
*Uncompleted two-storey building, Isinkan, Akure, Ondo State (1998)
*Two-storey residential building, Funbi Fagun Street, Abeokuta, Ogun State (1998)
*On-going construction of one-storey building, Benjamin Opara Street, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State (2006)
*Nigeria Industrial Development Building (NIDB), Lagos (2006)
*A two-storey market plaza in Oshodi, Lagos (2010), killing at least four persons and leaving many others wounded.
*Three-storey building at No.15, Alli Street, collapsed and fell on a bungalow at number 13 of the same street. The cause of the collapse then was not immediately known, but it was suspected that the three-storey building may have been distressed as hundreds of distressed buildings have been uncovered on Lagos Island.
*In July 2006, a building collapsed in Surulere, Lagos state, where three buildings caved in causing pandemonium among residents, killing no fewer than 28 lives and left 50 others injured.
*In Lagos, about 37 people lost their lives in a four-storey building mishap at Ebute Meta, same month in 2006.
*Another tragic collapse occurred in September 2014, where over 100 worshipers were killed in a six-storey building under construction in the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos state.
*In 2011, the residents of Gimbiya Street, Area 11, Garki, Abuja, an uncompleted building collapsed killing five people including a pregnant woman, with over 40 squatters trapped in the house.
*About five worshippers died when St. Anthony’s Catholic Cathedral in Oduma, Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State collapsed.
*The collapse of Saque Comprehensive Primary and Secondary School, Port Harcourt, Rivers state, led to the death of over 50 pupils in June 1990.
*In September 2014, a Guest House near the Synagogue Church of All Nations premises in Ikotun-Egbe Area of Lagos State collapsed in which 115 people were killed.
*In 2021 in Ikoyi, Lagos state, a 21-storey building collapsed, and at least 44 people were killed and 15 were rescued.