Power outage halts inquest into Ikoyi building collapse

Storey-building

Ikoyi building collapse

By Moji Eniola

Power outage on Thursday stalled the coroner inquest into the circumstances that led to the Nov.1 collapse of a 21-storey building located on Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The collapse of Block B of the three high-rise buildings caused the death of 46 persons, one whom was Mr Femi Osibona, the contractor of the project and Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Ltd.

Thursday’s proceeding was to begin with the continuation of the testimony of Mr Muritala Olawale, a structural engineer and the Managing Director of Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd.

When proceedings began at 9.12 am, the Coroner, Mr Oyetade Komolafe, suggested that proceedings should be stood down to a later time during the day or adjourned till another date.

The coroner noted that the microphones in the courtroom and the equipment used to record the proceedings were not working due to power outage.

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

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

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The counsels present in court were; Mr Akin George, representing the Lagos State Government and Mr A.S Odugbemi representing the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).

Others were – Mr O.M Adeosun for Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd and Mr Yusuf Laman from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

The Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and Architect Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) have representatives at the inquest.

Olawale, had on Dec. 15 told the coroner inquest that he rendered structural consultancy services to the late Osibona and 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 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 their services to Osibona via a letter dated Feb. 20, 2020.

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