Building collapse in Lagos State

The building collapse in the Itafaaji area of Lagos state was closely followed by the collapse of a building under construction in Oyo state. These are only some of the recent building collapse incidence occurring 13 years after Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, former Minister of Housing and Urban Development Abuja, on the 2nd August 2006 wrote in the preface of the National building code

In view of the above, the National Council on Housing and Urban Development deemed it necessary and initiated the process of evolving a National Building Code to put a stop to the National Building Code ugly trends in the Building Industry. It is my hope that this National Building Code will open a new vista in the Building Industry and eliminate or reduce to the bare minimum the incidents of collapsed building syndrome in Nigeria; promote safety and qualitative housing for every Nigerian. To achieve these laudable objectives, every tier of government, (federal, state and local) must imbibe the spirit and intent of this Code. To this end, State Governments are implored to integrate the provisions of this Code into their local laws particularly those relating to Design, Construction, and Maintenance (Post Construction) and efficiently monitor the implementation of the Code.’

                                                                                                            Dr. Olusegun Mimiko

The National Building Code was created in the hope of setting down guidelines that will ensure the safety of building in Nigeria by eliminating the problem of a lack of town planning, an incessant collapse of buildings, use of untested products and materials, and use of non-professionals or quacks. Yet the major cause of building collapse in Nigeria remains a lack of compliance with standards and specification by developers or contractors, employment of incompetent contractors and the use of substandard materials and equipment. It would seem that this code has failed to have the impact that Dr. Olusegun Mimiko craved. Might it be because it has no legal determent?


It is the civic responsibility of the government to protect the lives of the people. To this regard, the government has the power to make laws and enforce such laws with the aim of ensuring that the lives of its citizens are secure.

I feel that such responsibility should be greater when the safety of the general public is in jeopardy. Schools, hospitals, markets and places of business should all be held to a standard above the minimum requirement of building safety. These places are more accessible to the public when compared to private homes which can be held to the minimum requirement of0 building safety promulgated by the Code of Practice ICBO(1997)  and APEC(2013)

“Minimum standards shall provide a necessary safeguard to life or limb, health, property, and public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials used and occupancy, location and maintenance of all buildings and structure within its jurisdiction and certain equipment specially regulated herein.


The plane crash in Ethiopia gives us an example of how the world reacts to a threat to the life of its citizens. The world’s reaction to the Boeing 737 jet crash in Ethiopia was to either ground the jet and/or ban the jet from its countries airspace. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, China, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden ,Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom ,United States, Vietnam are some countries that banned the Boeing jet  while investigations are ongoing in Paris.

It is expected that the legislatures in every state of Nigeria would be hard at work, creating laws to ensure that when Nigerians go to work, school, religious places of worship, market and lay their head on their bed at night, they can rest assured that the building will not collapse.

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