Collapsed Ebute Metta building: scavengers take over as survivors, residents recount experiences |

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  • LABSCA requires the use of professionals on site; Building Approval, Materials Testing Certificate Now Required
  • To seal sites without photos, addresses, phone numbers of workers

Yesterday was a field day for scavengers at the site of the collapsed three-story building at 24, Ibadan Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos, as they scavenged the site for things buried in the rubble.

It was a case where one man’s misfortune became another man’s opportunity, as scavengers, who are involved in the buying and selling of iron and metals, carried away all the valuables dug out of the rubble by the scavengers. excavators from the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

The scavengers were seen unmolested, pulling iron bars and iron gates out of the rubble, although they had to pay some youth leaders before they could take them away.

MEANWHILE, a widow, Lasibat Adams, who survived the collapse along with her two children; Damilola and Omolara told Newslodge how they narrowly escaped.
According to her, the children survived because they followed her instructions to fetch water for her outside. She said: “It is true that we have been issued an eviction notice, but we begged the landlord to allow us to stay until June. It’s not that we didn’t want to leave, but it’s hard to get an apartment, and the ones we have are too expensive.

“They told me to pay N450,000 for a room and N750,000 for a room and living room and they asked me for an agreement and a commission of N300,000 and that is why I stayed in the house.

“I am a widow, I lost my husband 17 years ago. I lost all my belongings in that house, I was only able to escape with my children, but I have nothing else.”
For Ms. Awawu, who lost both her mother-in-law and her father-in-law in the incident, it was a bitter pill to swallow. She was uncontrollable as she recounted how she always visited her deceased relatives, who moved into the ill-fated building almost three years ago, but were lucky not to visit them on the day of the incident.

Another resident, Joy Robert, whose son was a survivor, urged the government to clamp down on developers who use substandard materials in construction.
He urged the Lagos state government to vet developers and construction engineers.

“There are many buildings marked for demolition, but the owners go to government officials to bribe them and people continue to stay in those houses.
“I found out that the house was marked for demolition two years ago and many of the people who lived in the collapsed building had left, but the owner’s wife rented an apartment to new tenants. They only stop charging tenants money after the government gave the warning,” she added.

But the General Manager of the Lagos State Construction Control Agency (LABSCA), Gbolahan Oki, has said that the agency will require from now on that developers must use professionals.

He stressed that developers who do not obtain construction approvals and mandatory material testing certificates will be penalized and not allowed to proceed with building construction.

The General Manager also promised to seal off any site where the names, addresses, photos and phone numbers of workers, including masons, iron benders, are not displayed.

Oki lamented that the developers have continued to rip off the system, despite various warnings, leading to the relentless collapse of buildings in the state. He said: “We don’t need to sleep with one of our eyes closed because we’re not sure what the builders or contractors have put in for us to sleep on. The life of an average Nigerian is more important than the money you have. I want to do.

“All construction must have key professionals on site and the materials must be well tested. Before starting any work on your site, you need to make insurance, if something happens to people on the site, you do not need to worry.

“There are simple procedures that need to be followed, which also includes having construction plans and approval on site, which 99 per cent of developers do not have, which is why the Lagos state government decided to have construction officers in each district. ”.

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