This blog post has been long overdue. But it’s finally here. I took several months, waiting and waiting and trying to decide what I wanted to talk about in my first post. I wanted it to be the right topic, the perfect topic. I had several ideas, but none of them spur me to write. The longer I waited…the harder it was to start. Until finally this week, something jolted me out of my hesitancy…
I first learned about the news when I stepped out to the jobsite this week early on Monday morning. One of the foremen I had befriended on the job told me if I had heard. I hadn’t. Bill kept up on African news, even better than I did. On March 13, a 3-story building had collapsed in Lagos Island, Nigeria, and took the lives of 20 people and injured many others. Rescue efforts were underway.
Reading further revealed that a school had been set up in the building, also the building had been previously marked for demolition because the Lagos State government knew that it was not structurally sound. But the building remained and was being used. Totally and completely devastating.
Why hadn’t the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory for Buildings done a better job? Why are they cavalier with human lives? Apparently, there is a pattern of building collapses in Lagos. In March 2016, a 5-story building in Lekki, Lagos killed 34 people and on that December, a roof collapse at a church service took 160 lives. The Nigerian government needs to do better.
On March 16, 2019, a 3-story building collapsed 200 miles away, in Ibadan, Nigeria, 3 days after the March 13th building collapse in Lagos. Thankfully, no lives were lost, but survivors were injured and some trapped in the debris for hours.
One positive outcome from these ghastly events is that Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari signed the Engineers Registration Amendment Act 2019. The government intends to create a regulatory board for the engineering industry, Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), which will train, educate and regulate professional engineers. I find it surprising that there wasn’t such a council already in place. However, I’m happy for progress.
I have family in Lagos, and grew up in Ibadan and my deepest condolences go to all affected by these events. Paragraph