Synagogue Building Collapse: S.Africa To Send Special Envoy To Nigeria

Synagogue building collapseSouth Africa is sending a high level governmental team to Nigeria with regard to the repatriation of the bodies of their citizens who died in the Synagogue Guest House collapse in September.

Addressing a post-cabinet press conference in Cape Town and via video link to Pretoria on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency and the special envoy leading the visiting delegation, Mr Jeff Hadebe, said that the purpose of the visit was to meet with the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government first-hand, with a view to expediting action on the repatriation of the bodies.

More than 80 South Africans are believed to be among the 116 people who died in the Synagogue building collapse.

DNA matching is said to still be ongoing at a laboratory in Stellenbosch, in South Africa.

More Buildings Will Collapse In Nigeria, Agency Warns

Joseph_OdumoduThe Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Joseph Odumodu on Thursday warned that “more buildings will collapse in Nigeria if the real issues are not addressed immediately.

“Every time there is a collapse, we must carry out an investigation and come out with a verdict”, he said, adding that “anytime you go to where a building collapses, you wont find an engineer or architect; everybody disappears.

“And we all forget about it, until the next one happens” and “we just cant continue with this” he said on Sunrise Daily.

He further noted that “for us to find a lasting solution to building collapses, we have to work together” revealing “that SON has a recipe.

“We must ensure that architects are involved in designs and structural engineers are involved in structures; but that is not where it ends. The state governments must do the approvals” he said.

He commended the efforts of the Lagos State government where builders “apply for approval for any milestone when you are building adding that “the major reason for building collapses, is that the concrete mixture has failed”.

Mr Odumodu also revealed that after visiting building centres in Abuja, Lagos and other states he “only found engineers in less than 10 per cent of those sites. So at the end of the day those who are mixing the cement are ordinary artisans and most of them are not certified.

“So we also must ensure that artisans are certified”, he opined.

He also noted that from statistics obtained from a national survey conducted by SON, “less than five per cent of blocks in Nigeria meet the NIS Standard 587 of 2007” which states that “you mix one portion of cement to six portions of sand to produce 22 nine inches of blocks from a bag.

“But I have been to block industries and they produce 45 blocks” from a bag.

Mr Odumodu also urged cement producers to start printing important information on their products to so as to avoid building collapse.

“There is no bag of cement that carries a batch number, there is no bag of cement that carries an expiry date or use before date” adding that “they don’t carry information on how they should be applied; they don’t even tell you how you should store it”, he said.

He warned that “if you store cement on the floor, it will take moisture” because it is hygroscopic, adding that “if it takes moisture, its activity reduces’.

He said market surveys have shown that 50kg cement bags contain 45kg of the product and sometimes expired products which could be a contributing factor to devastating building collapse.

“Our job is about traceability. I go to a place where a building comes down and I am able to tell that these people (company) supplied all the re-inforcement bars used for the construction and I am able to take a sample of that and take it back to the manufacturer” to ascertain its reliability.

He further urged Nigerians to know about the grade of cement they use because the grade determines the kind of structure that can be built with the product.

He further noted that there are new rules which demands “standards for flooring, plastering, slabs and columns”.

He went down memory lane to recall an international cement company operating in Nigeria “that wanted to register 22.5 (cement) but called it mercenary cement” maintaining that “people were misapplying quality material” and “if you misapply them, they will give you wrong results; and that is the problem”.

Professional Body Calls On Senate To Intervene In Construction Sector

Samuel IlugbekhaiThe President, Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, Samuel Ilugbekhai, on Wednesday called on the Senate to intervene in the construction sector and “create an enabling law for the competent practice of structural engineering in Nigeria” in order to prevent building collapses, such as that of the recent Synagogue Building.

Mr Ilugbekhai, who noted that issues concerning building collapse in Nigeria have been discussed for over 30 years, emphasised the need for the general public to have structural engineers on building sites, as only such a professional can guarantee that a building has strength.

“An average building has a team that works on it. The architect conceives the building. The structural engineer gives the building the strength to stand its entire lifetime. So the building standing everyday means that the structural engineer is continuously at work.

“Any day that building suffers any form of defect that makes it come down, it means that structural engineering has failed,” he said, while on Sunrise Daily.

He noted that the Institute has been in existence since 1968 and “till date, none of our members have been found wanting, in terms of any form of collapse”.

He went further to emphasise that “if you are going to build anything, that a human being is going to be inside, a structural engineer must be there”. He noted that even the simplest of all constructions, bungalow, should also have such an engineer on site.

However, it appears that the general public does not often patronise the services of structural engineers.

“I mentioned that for the past 30 years alone (at least which I’m aware of), we have tried to drum the signal of this danger to the ears of those who are supposed to know.”

We mentioned that many letters had been written to “the appropriate authorities” including Council Of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), the overall regulating body for engineering in Nigeria, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), warning of the impending danger.

“If you are not a structural engineer, don’t dabble into structural engineering.”

He argued that the engineering authorities should have sent out warning signals to all practitioners and also put in place an enabling policy.

“Thank God the Senate has come into it. It is within their reach to do that.”

He suggested that the Institution, which is tailored after the Institute of Structual Engineers in the United Kingdom, should be backed by an act of law.

“What the Senate will just do is create an enabling law for the competent practice of structural engineering in Nigeria.”

He however agreed that the use of substandard materials also play a major role in the collapse of building, adding that inclement or extreme weather conditions, act of God and human factors are the other reasons for building collapse.

“If after over 30 years, we have not been able to remove substandard materials from the market, then there’s an agency who is not working properly”, he noted.

3 Dead, 5 Rescued in Benin Church Building Collapse

Church BuildingIt was a tragic day  as three people have been confirmed dead after a church building collapsed in Benin City on Friday.

The one-storey building, belonging to Christ Chosen Church Of God, collapsed at about 2pm in the Erhunse area of the city.

About 9 people were said to be demolishing the building, following the relocation of the church to a new structure, when it caved in, trapping the workers inside.

Speaking at the scene of the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command, said that he got an anonymous call which prompted his quick intervention as an irate crowd threatened to set ablaze what was left of the property.

Nigerian Engineers Advocate Railway Privatisation

Ibadan RailwayThe Nigerian Society of Engineers has advised the Nigerian government to privatise the Nigeria Railway Corporation in order to create an alternative transport system and decongest the nation’s roads.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Friday, the President of the Society, Mr Ademola Olorunfemi, attributed the high volume of traffic on the nation’s highway was due to the inability of the Federal Government to provide alternative means of transportation.

Part of the President Jonathan’s administration’s agenda is the reform of Nigeria’s rail system to provide an alternative means of transportation for persons, goods and service from one part of the country to another, but the group said the sector is yet to showcase the efficiency need in the sector.

However, since the reform began there have been reports of improvement in the rail sector, as the Lagos Kano route commenced operation, but the union is calling for its privatisation in order to facilitate the reform.

‘Collapse Of Buildings’

The group also spoke on the increasing collapse of buildings, explained some of the reasons behind such occurrences and sought to end the trend.

“The use of unqualified engineers has contributed to collapse of buildings in Nigeria and there is the need for property developers to engage the services of relevant and qualified engineers,” Mr Olorunfemi said.

He insisted that the use of qualified engineers would provide the technical expertise that would help reduce cases of building collapse and improve the quality of buildings.

He also asked developers to ensure that they use quality cement in building construction.

some cement companies in Nigeria had earlier embarked on sensitisation programme to educate artisans on the best ways cement should be used and mixed to guard against poor standard buildings that could collapse over time.

Two Storey Building Collapses In Oworonsoki Lagos

collapse building kadunaFour children and six adults have been hospitalised in Lagos, after a two storey building under construction on Thursday collapsed on Sand Beach Lane in the Oworonsoki area of Lagos.

The ten victims of the disaster were trapped under the rubble for a few hours after the collapse before emergency agencies came to their rescue.

The four minors on the hospital beds were said to be helping out on the site before the unfortunate incident. They are currently receiving treatments at a Lagos public hospital in Gbagada.

Incidents of collapsed buildings have almost become usual occurrences in Lagos, and State Government has often blamed most of the disasters on use of inferior building materials.

Edo PDP Tackle State Government Over Hospital Project

PDP vs APCThere has been a dispute brewing between the People’s Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress Government in Edo State over the decision by the State Government to re-award the construction of a building at the Central Hospital in Benin City.

Part of the hospital had collapsed in 2013 killing one and injuring many.

The PDP is accusing the state government of not implementing the recommendations of the panel set up to investigate the accident.

The Central Hospital project was awarded in 2007 to a South-African construction company, SA International, but while construction was going on, 3 floors in the building caved in, killing the site manager with some other workers sustaining varying degrees of injury.

This prompted the State Government to set up a panel to investigate the cause of the incident. Part of the recommendation was that the entire building should be demolished, having failed credibility tests.

While the recommendations were yet to be implemented, the contract was re-awarded to another company and the PDP kicked against this action by the APC led State Government.

The PDP Chairman in Edo State, Dan Orbih, said, “We believe that the lives of the people who will be going there to seek medical services are very dear to us and as a state, if something is wrong with what the Government has done, they must be courageous enough to accept what they’ve done wrong and do the proper thing.”

The Spokesman for the Edo State Government, Kassim Afegbua, however, has dismissed the allegation by the opposition. He challenged the Edo PDP to publish the panel report that recommended the demolishing of the building.

The PDP insists that the welfare of the people was paramount and has threatened to go to court to stop the construction, if the panel’s report is not fully implemented.

Seven, Including Pregnant Woman Feared dead In Calabar Collapsed Building

At least seven people have been feared dead including a pregnant woman following a building collapse in Calabar as a result of the heavy down pour at Edem Otop, in Calabar Municipality in Cross River state, which lasted for several hours.

Residents of the area and eye witness accounts stated that, the disaster which occurred on Wednesday night, was as a result of erosion running through into a ravine behind the building. They also said that lack of drainage system to channel erosion in the community contributed to the problem.

Nine persons, including a six-month old baby, were in the building when the incident occurred.

Six bodies were recovered dead and the other three, including the baby, were rescued alive with several degrees of injuries. The survivors are receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Calabar.

The head of the family, Amos Akaniyene who was outside at the time of the disaster was not available to comment on the issue.

VIDEO:NEMA Confirms Three Dead In Lagos Building Collapse

Three people have been confirmed dead after a two story building under construction collapsed at the Ishaga area of Surulere, Lagos state on Sunday.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), initially said that two people died and three others were rescued, but sadly the body of a 13 year old girl recovered from the scene has taken the death toll to three people.

NEMA spokesman in Lagos, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye told Channels Television that the three rescued alive have been rushed to the hospital, with one of them needing to be operated on.

Sunday’s collapse comes barely two weeks after a three-story building located at Olota Street, off Herbert Macaulay Way, Ebute Metta, Lagos collapsed, leaving seven people dead.

Expert Lists Factor Responsible For Building Collapse

The President, Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Kunle Awobodu on Thursday said the frequent collapse of building in the country is “an aberration that has dented the image of construction professionals in Nigeria.”

Mr Awobodu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, one of the major problems with buildings in Nigeria is that owners of structures do not conduct soil test before commencement of construction work.

The spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South west zone, Ibrahim Farinloye had on Wednesday confirmed to Channels Television that about 36 deficient buildings in Lagos have been reported to them.

In the video below, Mr Awobodu listed some other factors responsible for collapse of building and what the government, construction professionals and individual property owners can do to prevent building collapse.