City Mall Collapses


At around 3:20 pm last Thursday, there was a loud noise  and pandemonium ensued.   Workers ran helter and skelter; firemen raced to the scene, while men of the  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 just  collapsed with construction workers trapped under the debris.

The rate at which work on the mall was being rushed had baffled passers-by. The  mall, located opposite the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos  State, southwest Nigeria is expected to be the biggest shopping mall in Lagos State  and Nigeria as a whole.

The contractor for the project is Cappa and Dalberto Plc, an Italian constructing  firm. The giant edifice, which has gulped billions of naira, began in May 2010. It  is expected to be completed next year while it will be open for business in November  2011. The leasing agents are Broll Property Services Limited and Ibukun Efuntayo  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 is  the latest and largest shopping centre in Lagos and it is situated in the heart of  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 ideally  positioned for convenient parking and shopping. The 23,000 metres retail offering is  anchored by Shoprite’s latest generation store of over 4,400 metres and will have  the most comprehensive food and entertainment offering yet available in Lagos.  Silverbird will be opening a spectacular four screen cinema complex on the first  floor to accompany the restaurants overlooking the street life below.

The shopping centre will also have specialist facilities for department stores,  banks, cafés, bars, restaurants, hairdressing / beauty salon, among others and will  present a unique opportunity for businesses to be part of a prestigious retail and  leisure development within Ikeja.

The look and feel of the shopping centre will be better than anything currently  available, and will mark for the first time in Nigeria a retail product that is  truly international in flavour.

The Ikeja City Mall is a joint development initiative between Actis, the pioneer  developers and founders of the Palms in Lagos and Accra Mall in Ghana; RMB Westport  – a leading developer/investor in the region and Paragon Holdings, the project  originators and local partners in the venture.

According to the partners, this combination represents a very formidable and  experienced equity team, and is ably complemented by Stanbic IBTC who is providing  all of the debt funding.

With the magnitude of the project, expected to change the face of Ikeja, the  collapse of a part of it brought a setback and cast aspersion on the credibility of  the contractor handling the project. For too long, the project was shrouded in  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 the  billion naira project. At the collapse, five workers were removed from the debris  and taken to the State’s Accident and Trauma Centre for treatment.

An official of the Lagos State Ambulance Service, LASAMBUS said some of the victims  had bone fracture but that none was unconscious.

The Project Manager, Mr. Christian was initially unwilling to comment on what led to  the collapse of the edifice but explained that the company would investigate to know  the cause of the collapse. “Please understand us, we cannot tell you what has caused  the collapse. We will look into it and see.”

LASEMA General Manager, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said the government would certainly  investigate the cause of the collapse to see whether the contractor used inferior  materials in carrying out the construction.

According to him, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development would move  to the site for investigation while officers of the Material Testing Laboratory  would test the building to ascertain the durability of the materials used in  constructing it.

Oke-Osanyintolu added that part of the building that collapsed had been condoned off  until proper investigation was carried out by the state government.

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