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Ikoyi building collapse: COREN submits findings to inquest

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The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) has submitted a report on its investigation into the Nov. 1, 2021 collapse of a 21-storey building on Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State.

Mr Tomide Akinnawo, Chief Engineer and COREN’s Head of Lagos Laison Office, submitted the report while testifying before the inquest.

Commending the report, the Coroner, Mr Oyetade Komolafe, said that it was detailed.

He requested that additional two copies should be submitted to the inquest.

During proceedings, Akinnawo told the coroner that the COREN investigative panel noticed that the project board mounted at the site of the collapsed building hid vital information about the construction.

“The contractor did not give an address and phone number.

“It is inappropriate, the project board hid a lot of sensitive and important information,” he said.

The engineer said that it was the responsibility of surpervisory government agencies to point out the breach, when they visited the site.

“The contractor or the client needed to have been sanctioned by the state development control bodies because information on the project board is not detailed.

“COREN has mandate to visit sites, and anytime we visit sites, we limit our visit to the area of coverage which is the engineering aspect of that project,” he said.

Akinnawo said that COREN discovered another structure (Block D) constructed behind the initial three high-rise structures at the site.

The witness said that the investigative panel was not granted access to the site until the coroner ordered the access.

“When we began work there, we discovered Block D. That Block D was at the back of the other buildings. It was an eight-storey building and it was meant to serve Blocks A, B and C.

“When we saw the Block D, we could not ignore it, we had to include it in our report,” Akinnawo said.

Responding to the coroner on whether the land mass of the site was large enough to accommodate the four structures, Akinnawo said that the contractor of the project breached town planning regulations.

He said that the entrance to the site was also not appropriate for the magnitude of the structures.

Under cross-examination by Mr Oluwamayokun David, counsel to Beyond Design Ltd., the witness said that in the course of his duties, he had encountered loggerheads between contractors and consultants.

“The relationship between contractors and consultants in Nigeria is like cat and mouse. The contractor will want to cut corners which the consultants will not allow.

“When a contractor continually violates quality control in his project, the duty of the consultant is to write through the project architect to the client.

“If it fails the consultant will write through the project manager to COREN. If no action is taken, the consultant will resign,” he said.

Akinnawo said that he first heard of Fourscore Heights after the building collapsed.

He said that COREN was unable find staff of the company to interview during the investigation.

Komolafe adjourned the inquest until April 29 for continuation of hearing.

NAN reports that the building collapsed on Nov. 1, 2021, killing 50 persons including Mr Femi Osibona, the Managing Director of Fourscore Heights.

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