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Ikoyi building collapse: Relief as COREN weighs in, sets up investigative panel

It was a huge sigh of relief on Wednesday when the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) weighed into the collapse of the 21-storey building at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos with an investigative panel. The body’s prolonged silence on the building collapse had been a source of worry.

The panel, COREN explained, was aimed to investigate the causes of the collapse. Members of the public expect that the outcome of the investigation would put an end to all forms of speculations on why and how a structure of that magnitude came down crashing.

“Following the collapse, we have held several consultations with various stakeholders in the built environment. Subsequently, on behalf of the Council, I have constituted a COREN special investigation panel on the collapsed 21-storey building, Ali Rabiu, COREN president, explained at the inauguration of the panel in Lagos.

“This is according to Section 1(1) (h) of the Engineers Registration and Amendment Act, 2018, that empowers COREN to investigate engineering failures; it is in line with our mandate to investigate engineering failures.

The collapse of a 21-storey structure or building is an infrastructure and engineering failure. So, we are acting in line with our Act to know the remote and immediate causes and technically, of course, why this building came crashing,” he explained further.

Rabiu stressed that the panel was also to prevent speculative causes of the collapsed building. “As a professional, I do not speculate; that is why I have set up this committee,” he said, noting that building in Nigeria has become an all-comers affair, hence Nigerians are advised to engage only professionals in the built industry whenever they want to build.

He assured that COREN would not allow cover-ups as was experienced in some previous cases where action was not taken on evidences provided by the council, citing Synagogue Church of All Nations building collapse which claimed the lives of over 100 persons including foreign nationals.

The panel, which has been given six weeks to conduct a thorough investigation into the causes of the collapsed structure, has George Okoroma, the president of the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria (ACEN) as chairman.

Read also: Ikoyi building collapse: No plan yet to demolish buildings at site — LASG

Other members of the panel are Bunmi Ajayi, a Town Planner; Buki Ejiwumi, an Architect, three Fellows of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE); Victor Oyenuga, Eddy Atumonyogo, Ibikunle Ogunbayo, and other three members of NSE including Nurain Sulyman, Will Beresibo and Tomide Akinnawo.

Among other things, the panel is expected to carry out a comprehensive inquisition into the remote and/or immediate cause(s) of the collapse; gather, record, and analyse all relevant engineering data available on-site and confirm contractors’ compliance to Lagos State building laws.

The committee is also expected to find out the level of involvement or otherwise of practitioners on the project leading to the collapse; carry out an integrity test on the two standing towers at the site of the collapse, and any other matter incidental to the earlier stated terms of reference.

Okoroma assured that the panel would consider all the technical issues concerned to ascertain the real cause of the collapse.

“My heart goes out to the families and relatives of those who lost their loved ones and relatives in that unfortunate incident and the Lagos State government for this avoidable incident, which is not good for our industry,” he said.

He assured that the panel would investigate the root causes of the collapse to forestall future occurrences and also ensure that surrounding buildings at the site of the collapsed building passed an integrity test.

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