The Lagos State Government has marked more than 20 houses for demolition at Jakande Estate, Oke-Afa, near Isolo, Lagos following the death of two sisters when a two-storey building collapsed in the estate on Wednesday.
When we visited the estate this morning, officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LSBCA, were busy marking the defective buildings in the estate for demolition.
Two sisters, Bukky and Toyin Coker, were killed and their mother, Mrs. Coker, seriously injured when their house in the estate collapsed at midnight.
Officials of LSBCA claimed that most of the buildings at the estate were defective and the residents warned to move away from the danger zone but they failed to heed the warning.
An official of LSBCA who spoke with us on condition of anonymity this morning said government has ordered them to mark all defective buildings in the estate for demolition.
A resident of the estate, Mrs. Joy Oduah noted that the contractors who handled the buildings did a poor job.
The marking of the houses for demolition, we gathered, has thrown landlords and tenants in the estate into panic.
Some of the residents who spoke to our correspondents said not all the buildings marked for demolition were defective, adding that some of them were marked in order to extort money from the landlords.
It was also gathered that most of the houses in the estate were let out by the landlords who live elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Mr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), said that occupants of a two-storey building that collapsed in Lagos on Wednesday had ignored government‘s safety warnings.
The building, Block M20, Jakande Estate, at Church Street, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos, collapsed shortly after midnight, killing two sisters.
Oke-Osanyintolu, who made the disclosure in an interview with NAN in Lagos, said that the state government had conducted series of structural tests on the building.
He explained that occupants had been repeatedly informed of its distressed state and the dangers in their continued habitation of the building.
“This is the kind of disasters we have always tried to avoid , but unfortunately, some residents are not just co-operating with the state government at the expense of their safety.
“The results of the series of structural tests we conducted on the collapsed building showed that the structure was weak and not fit for habitation.
“We had repeatedly warned the occupants of the dangers and asked them to leave but unfortunately, they ignored these warnings.
“This disaster is preventable. It would not have happened this way if the occupants had complied,” he said.
Oke-Osanyintolu said some of the buildings that collapsed in the metropolis were due to residents’ defiance to government safety warnings.
He urged residents to subject their buildings to routine structural tests by government to ascertain their state of habitation.
“We cannot open our eyes and allow all of these to go on. Henceforth, we will begin strict enforcement of evacuation order on distressed buildings.
“We are not going to wait for occupants to leave because some will not just leave. We are concerned with the safety of lives and properties,” he said.
The General Manager said emergency response officials had been mobilised to the site of the incident to ensure safe evacuation of all occupants.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that building would be demolished to avert further disasters.
Meanwhile the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has advised the Lagos State Government to conduct comprehensive assessment of buildings in all its housing estates. Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, the South-West Zonal Information Officer of the agency, gave the advice in an interview with NAN on Wednesday in Lagos.
He gave the advice at the collapsed building that killed two sisters in Isolo, noting that the structure was erected during the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande as the governor of Lagos State between 1979 and 1983. He said that the assessment was necessary to determine the suitability of the buildings for continued habitation.
NAN reports that many of the two-storey buildings, constructed about 30 years ago, have become dilapidated, with cracks on their walls.
According to Farinloye, the Lagos State Ministry of Housing will assess the houses to determine their suitability to serve as residential buildings.
“We have advised residents to immediately evacuate the buildings, to avoid further loss of lives.
“The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has taken over the site of the collapsed building for proper assessment,” he said.
Farinloye advised residents of the other buildings to cooperate with appropriate government agencies, scheduled to conduct the assessment, in order to safeguard lives and properties.