Home Feature Workers seek probe of TETFUND-UNILAG N1.9bn collapsed building

Workers seek probe of TETFUND-UNILAG N1.9bn collapsed building


Some members of staff of the University of Lagos have called for an investigation into the collapse of the institution’s central library complex.

The seven-storey building, which is still under construction, collapsed last week Thursday. No life was, however, lost to the incident.

But some workers of the university said the collapse might have been caused by the usage of substandard materials, a situation they alleged was made possible because of the shoddy way the contract was awarded as well as the competence of the contractors.

It was gathered that a part of the building collapsed while workers were still working on the site.

It was learnt that a part of the suspended floor shifted, making the left side of the building to collapse.

During a visit to the project site, which is situated beside the institution’s bookshop and adjacent to the Mariere Hall, our correspondent observed that part of the building had collapsed, while the entrance to the site had been sealed off by the school management.

Our correspondent learnt that the project was a fixed contract by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund with counterpart funding from UNILAG.

The project consultants are ATO Architects, Landmark Structure Engineers, Tuber Consult Quantity Surveyors, IFC Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, CPMS Project Manager and Dutum Company Limited.

The UNILAG workers called for a probe of the roles of the project consultants.

The workers, who preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation, expressed sadness that a project that had huge sums of money allocated to it could be awarded to just anybody.

One of the workers said, “Everybody in the community is annoyed that huge funds are set aside to put up a nice structure but it is not up to the second floor and it’s already collapsing.

“How can you be setting up this kind of structure and employ the services of local contractors? This is where I became suspicious that the contractor could be making use of casual workers. The casual workers make use of head pans to convey concrete mix and this means that they can’t get the correct measure of the materials they are using. What we expected was that there would be deployment of modern construction equipment for this massive project.

“Another thing that fuelled my suspicion was that the project signpost was just like an artistic work. For the part of the building to collapse at this stage, then, we need to question the kind of foundation the building has; this is nothing but corruption. We want the contractor to be probed because if the building had been completed, we would have had casualties.”

Our correspondent learnt that members of the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria met with the UNILAG Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, over the collapsed building.

The VC reportedly told the team that the UNILAG Council Chairman, Dr Wale Babalakin, had ordered an investigation into the matter after he was briefed.

Ogundipe further told the team that he had notified the investigative panel his observations about the contractor, his alleged inadequacies and the slow pace of work.

When our correspondent contacted the Head of Communications, UNILAG, Taiwo Oloyede, she said a panel had been set up to look into the matter.

Oloyede stated, “The building under construction did not collapse; what occurred on the construction site was a partial collapse of the formwork during concreting.

“The management has set up a committee to look into the situation and submit its report as soon as possible; probing the contractor may not be necessary now since it was not the building under construction that collapsed. Anyway, as earlier said, a committee has been set up and the contractor will be called upon to brief it on the situation.”

Similarly, the Head of Communications, TETFUND, Gbenga Arolasafe, told our reporter that the matter was under investigation.

He said, “I can’t give you an official response; there is nothing to hide; we have seen it and we have a procedure for authenticating and investigating what has happened before taking decisions and we have started work on it.

“I can’t say anything now until the report is out; we can’t jump into conclusions until we get our facts and figures right. By Friday, at the latest, we should have a response.”

When contacted, the representative of the main contractor, Dutum Company Limited, Temitope Runsewe, insisted that the building did not collapse, adding that what happened was a form of displacement.

“No, the building did not cave in; there was just a formwork displacement; it is still under construction and it got displaced. Allow the professionals to present their report and it will be provided to whoever is interested in it,” he stated. Punch



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