A structural engineer and Managing Director of Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd, Muritala Olawale, has said the 21-storey building that recently collapsed in Ikoyi, Lagos, was meant to only have four storeys.
Olawale said this while giving his testimony at the coroner’s inquest into the circumstances that led to the collapse of a 21-storey high-rise building located at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi.
The inquest was, however, stalled on Thursday as a result of power failure.
On November 1, a 21-storey building collapsed, killing over 40 persons, including the developer, Femi Osibona, while some people were rescued.
Olawale was scheduled to continue with his testimony at the inquest but when the proceedings commenced, the Coroner, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, suggested that proceedings should be moved to a later time or date.
The coroner pointed out that the microphones in the courtroom and the equipment used to record the proceedings were not working due to blackout.
“You will not be able to hear me and we will also be unable to hear the witness,” Komolafe said.
The matter was, therefore, adjourned to January 12 and 13, 2022 for the continuation of Olawale’s evidence.
Olawale, at the proceedings on Wednesday, told the coroner that he rendered structural consultancy services to the contractor of the project, Osibona.
Olawale said the initial brief his firm received was that what was being built was three blocks of four-storey buildings.
He said Osibona kept changing the brief by adding more floors to the buildings.
He noted that his team were only responsible for the first four 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 rise structures.
“I never saw the approved architectural drawings, mechanical drawings, and electronic drawings for the project,” he said.
Olawale said when he realised that standard construction procedures were not being adhered to on the site, his firm pulled out and wrote a letter dated February 20, 2020, to Osibona, to let him know why his company was withdrawing its services.