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Power Outage Stalls Coroner Inquest Into Cause Of Ikoyi Building Collapse

Shola Soyele  
Updated December 16, 2021
A high-rise building in Ikoyi, Lagos, collapsed on November 1, 2021.
A photo collage of the collapsed building in the Ikoyi Area of Lagos State. Source: Facebook/LASEMA

 

Proceedings were stalled on Thursday at the coroner inquest sitting in Ikeja to investigate the circumstances which led to the Nov.1 collapse of a 21-storey high-rise building located at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

A power outage did not allow the proceedings to go on.

The building collapse was said to have resulted in the death of 46 persons one of whom was the MD of Fourscore Heights Ltd, Mr Femi Osibona.

A structural engineer and Managing Director of Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd, Mr Muritala Olawale was scheduled to continue with his testimony at the inquest but when the proceedings commenced, the Coroner Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe suggested that proceedings should be stood down to a later time during the day or adjourned till another date.

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The coroner said that the microphones in the courtroom and the equipment used to record the proceedings were not working due to a lack of electricity.

“You will not be able to hear me and we will also be unable to hear the witness,” Komolafe said.

The counsel for all interested parties and the coroner came to an agreement that proceedings should be adjourned until Jan. 12 and 13, 2022 for the continuation of Mr Olawale’s evidence.

At the proceedings on Wednesday, the 15th of Dec., Olawale had told the coroner that he rendered structural consultancy services to the contractor of the project, the late MD of Fourscore Heights Ltd, Mr Femi Osibona.

Olawale said the initial brief his firm received was for three blocks of four-storey buildings.

He said that Osibona kept revising the brief by adding more floors to the buildings and that his team were only responsible for the first four floors of the 21-storey Block B which collapsed.

Olawale told the inquest that Osibona was the contractor/builder of the project and was also in charge of getting all government approvals for the high-rises.

“I never saw the approved architectural drawings, mechanical drawings, and electronic drawings for the project,” he said.

The structural engineer noted that when he realised that standard construction procedures were not being observed on the site, his company withdrew its services to Osibona via a letter dated Feb. 20, 2020.