A structural engineer, Mr Muritala Olawale, has told an Inquest he cannot vouch for the integrity of the remaining two high-rises (Block A and C) at the site of the collapsed 21-storey building at Ikoyi.
Olawale, Managing Director of Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd, made the revelation while answering questions at the Coroner’s Inquest constituted to investigate the fatal building collapse.
He was taking questions from counsel to the Lagos State Government, Mr Akin George.
George had cited Olawale’s letter to Femi Osibona, Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Limited dated Feb. 20, 2020, in which he withdrew his structural consultancy services.
The letter which went viral online was released on social media in the wake of the Nov. 1 building collapse.
George noted that the letter had specifically excluded liability for Block B which was the collapsed building and wondered if the letter supported the integrity of the other high-rise blocks (Blocks A and C).
Olawale said, ”I am not sure of the other buildings. We were not part of the approval process, he (Osibona) is our client. We just did what they told us.”
He continued, “We never got milestone approvals for each of the floors. We were bothered, we kept asking and he said that if the government agencies had any problem, they can come and lock up the place.”
“We did not build Blocks A and C, we supervised it. Fourscore was the builder. The client (Fourscore Heights Ltd) doubled as the contractor/builder,” he said.
Olawale noted that when he realised that standard procedures were not being observed, his company withdrew their services to Osibona via the letter dated Feb. 20, 2020.
“When we withdrew, the letter was addressed to Fourscore Heights Ltd and it was not copied to any government agency. Osibona was the only one who was dealing with the regulatory agencies. I also saw the letter I wrote to him on social media on Nov. 1, the day of the building collapse, ” he said.
The Coroner, Mr Oyetade Komolafe, adjourned proceedings until Dec. 16.
Of the three high-rise buildings (Blocks A, B and C) which were situated on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Block B (21-storeys) collapsed on Nov. 1, killing 46 persons while 15 persons were rescued alive. (with NAN reports)