The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has set up a committee to determine the immediate and remote causes of the collapse of a three-storey building on Monday at Dape in Life Camp. Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, stated this during an assessment visit to the site on Tuesday.
Adesola said that the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, Mr Shehu Ahmad, would chair the committee, to determine the immediate and remote cause of the collapse.
He added that the committee, would also establish culpability, whether from officials of the administration or external persons.
He noted that the operating practice of engineering was very clear, with Codes for all kinds of offences, adding that the FCTA, would invoke all the penalties and sanctions when investigation was concluded.
“Until investigation is concluded, this site is permanently closed.
“I want to assure the public that all factors are considered when a property is duly authorised by Development Control, but in this case, there were some variables that were not taken into consideration.
“The development control directed that all work should be stopped to enable the FCTA advise appropriately, but the developer continued,” he said.
Earlier, the Director, Development Control Department, FCDA, Mr Mukhtar Galadima, said that the site was Plot 965 within Dape District, allocated to one Nazia Building and Civil Engineering Company Ltd.
Galadima said that the plot was allocated for a mix-use development in 2019 for a commercial and residential facilities on a three suspended floor.
He added that the developer was asked to stop the project, following some observations, particularly that the topography was not reflected in the initial design.
“We also noticed that the site was sloppy and swampy, and so we asked the developer to submit his design for reassessment.
“In the course of the development, there was an alteration and the developer was asked to stop work on the site until the modifications are integrated in the design.
“Also, the building failed our integrity test, indicating that it will collapse. Regrettably, the developer mobilised workers to site on Monday, and the building collapsed,” he said.
Galadima said that the title right of the developer on the land has been revoked in line with FCTA policy whenever a building collapse.
He stressed the need to prosecute all persons found culpable.
On his part, the Director-General FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Alhaji Abass Idris, said that the agency received a distress call about the building collapse around 3:30 p.m. on Monday.
Idris said that agency immediately mobilised stakeholders to the site for rescue operations.
“In the process, nine people were rescued alive and were taken to hospital, of which six were discharged while three are still receiving treatment,” he said.
Also, Emeka Ozioko, Chief Inspector, Engineering Regulation Monitoring, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), said that the council’s panel would also investigate the causes of the collapse.
Ozioko told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the scene, that if the engineers were found wanting, they would lose their professional license and face other penalties.
“The problem in this country is that nobody is punished for doing wrong. The moment a person is sent to jail to suffer for causing the lives of citizens, others will sit up.
“Let us all deal with the rules and whoever has violated the rules let him suffer for it,” he said.
Prof. Samson Duna, Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, also told NAN that officials of the institute have taken samples to determine the quality of the construction.
Duna identified some of the factors that lead to building collapse as unprofessional practice, quackery, lack of proper assessment of soil properties, use of substandard materials, and non-adherence to professional procedure, among others.
On his part, Mr Kenedy Aimiuwu, Chairman, Practice Committee of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, attributed some cases of building collapse to unprofessional practices.
Aimiuwu said most of the builders in construction sites were not professionals, as such, lacked the requisite knowledge of the dangers of unwholesome practices.
NAN reports that an adjoining building believed to be an event centre, was earlier demolished by officials of the FCTA Development Control department.
The director of the department said the action was necessary to forestal the collapse of another structure.
According to him, the demolished building is a “disaster waiting to happen”, due to visible cracks around it, as such “it has to be demolished before it kills people”.