13th December, 2010
At around 3:20 pm last Thursday, there was a loud noiseÂ and pandemonium ensued.Â Â Workers ran helter and skelter; firemen raced to the scene, while men of theÂ Nigerian Civil Defence and Security Corps and the police sped to the scene.
And what happened? A section of the Ikeja City Mall, under construction, had justÂ collapsed with construction workers trapped under the debris.
The rate at which work on the mall was being rushed had baffled passers-by. TheÂ mall, located opposite the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, LagosÂ State, southwest Nigeria is expected to be the biggest shopping mall in Lagos StateÂ and Nigeria as a whole.
The contractor for the project is Cappa and Dalberto Plc, an Italian constructingÂ firm. The giant edifice, which has gulped billions of naira, began in May 2010. ItÂ is expected to be completed next year while it will be open for business in NovemberÂ 2011. The leasing agents are Broll Property Services Limited and Ibukun EfuntayoÂ Company. The mall will offer 20,000 square metres of retail and entertainment.
Information gathered on the website of the complex shows that the Ikeja City Mall isÂ the latest and largest shopping centre in Lagos and it is situated in the heart ofÂ Alausa, Ikeja, where the seat of government for Lagos State resides.
The mall is bounded by access roads on three sides; the five hectare site is ideallyÂ positioned for convenient parking and shopping. The 23,000 metres retail offering isÂ anchored by Shopriteâ€™s latest generation store of over 4,400 metres and will haveÂ the most comprehensive food and entertainment offering yet available in Lagos.Â Silverbird will be opening a spectacular four screen cinema complex on the firstÂ floor to accompany the restaurants overlooking the street life below.
The shopping centre will also have specialist facilities for department stores,Â banks, cafÃ©s, bars, restaurants, hairdressing / beauty salon, among others and willÂ present a unique opportunity for businesses to be part of a prestigious retail andÂ leisure development within Ikeja.
The look and feel of the shopping centre will be better than anything currentlyÂ available, and will mark for the first time in Nigeria a retail product that isÂ truly international in flavour.
The Ikeja City Mall is a joint development initiative between Actis, the pioneerÂ developers and founders of the Palms in Lagos and Accra Mall in Ghana; RMB WestportÂ – a leading developer/investor in the region and Paragon Holdings, the projectÂ originators and local partners in the venture.
According to the partners, this combination represents a very formidable andÂ experienced equity team, and is ably complemented by Stanbic IBTC who is providingÂ all of the debt funding.
With the magnitude of the project, expected to change the face of Ikeja, theÂ collapse of a part of it brought a setback and cast aspersion on the credibility ofÂ the contractor handling the project. For too long, the project was shrouded inÂ secrecy until the collapse of a portion of it which drew media attention.
The Lagos State Government says it will investigate the partial collapse of theÂ billion naira project. At the collapse, five workers were removed from the debrisÂ and taken to the Stateâ€™s Accident and Trauma Centre for treatment.
An official of the Lagos State Ambulance Service, LASAMBUS said some of the victimsÂ had bone fracture but that none was unconscious.
The Project Manager, Mr. Christian was initially unwilling to comment on what led toÂ the collapse of the edifice but explained that the company would investigate to knowÂ the cause of the collapse. â€œPlease understand us, we cannot tell you what has causedÂ the collapse. We will look into it and see.â€
LASEMA General Manager, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said the government would certainlyÂ investigate the cause of the collapse to see whether the contractor used inferiorÂ materials in carrying out the construction.
According to him, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development would moveÂ to the site for investigation while officers of the Material Testing LaboratoryÂ would test the building to ascertain the durability of the materials used inÂ constructing it.
Oke-Osanyintolu added that part of the building that collapsed had been condoned offÂ until proper investigation was carried out by the state government.