Stories Around the Globe

A Flood of Building Collapses Across Nigeria

Nigerians are shocked by the litany of deaths brought about by downpours in the past two months. Reports have shown that many parts of Nigeria are mourning their loses due to the massive environmental degradation caused by the recent high volume of rainfall which started in June 2020.

In June, Jigawa State has experienced flooding which has led to the death of 33 people and the destruction of 51,000 Houses. Mr Yusuf Sani Babura, the Executive Secretary of the Jigawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) who noted that the flood-affected 17 out of the 27 local government areas of the state. The Executive Secretary said the flood led to the collapse of a lot of buildings and the death of children in the state. He also said that the Annual Flood has destroyed 50,000 houses while farmlands were submerged crops include maize, millet, guinea corn and rice perished in most LGA’s of the state as a result of a heavy downpour occurred last week’. Unfortunately, in September, the death toll increased to 33 people. Badaru Abubakar, Governor of Jigawa State also has shown deep concern over the devastating flood that destroyed lives and livelihoods in some parts of the state.

 Northern States like Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi has also bore the brunt of the high volume of rain in the country. This time, the nation’s food potentials may also suffer due to the flooding of farmlands in the North.  In Kano State, the Kano State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, revealed that Danbata area of Kano State remains the worst hit as 5,000 houses became inhabitable and 2 people died. Another area, Rogo also lost 200 houses to the flood.

In Kebbi State, 6 people lost their lives across 11 Local Government Areas; Argungu, Birnin Kebbi, Bunza, Suru, Koko-Besse, Yauri, Shanga, Bagudo, Maiyama, Jega and Dandi. 500 hectares of crops including rice, millet, sorghum, maize, sugarcane has been lost to the floods. Sokoto State lost 15 people across 6 LGAs. The rains have rendered homeless over 5,254 people and have affected the livelihoods of over 27,000 people in Goronyo, Rah, Sokoto-North, Wamakko, Silame and Binji LGAs.

The recent rains have also compounded the problems that have bedevilled Borno State over the years. While the state is still grappling with the shocks of Insurgency, trying to manage the Internally displaced Persons, IDP, camps, and struggling to bring back normalcy to ravaged communities, the International Organisation for Migration stated that the recent rains have damaged over 240 IDP shelters in Jeere, Damboa, Konduga and Maiduguri. This has affected around 1,200 persons in the State.  

In the Eastern part of Nigeria, the recent collapse of a storey building Umuota Village, Obosi Town, Idemeli North LGA in Anambra State ripples through the country. The collapse has led to the death of two people; a father and mother died after they had been rescued from the debris. They left behind by six hapless children who were also recused from the crumbled building. Although the building was largely an uncompleted building that should not have been approved for habitation, Collin Chukwube, leader of the Umotu Community pleaded with Chief Willie Obaino, Governor of Anambra State, to come to the aid of the surviving children.

Meanwhile, a six-month-old baby, who is part of the surviving children is currently being treated in the hospital. The scene was cordoned off to prevent hoodlum and thieves from taking advantage of the vulnerable space to steal from the collapse building.

The Journal recently reported the collapse of a Secondary School Building in Lagos, Nigeria. Although no lives were lost at the Excel College, Ejigbo, Alimosho LGA, recent infrastructural history show that Lagos has a robust record of collapsed buildings during the rainy season.

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 In June, The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, noted that 20 families have been displaced at Orile-Agege due to almost 90mm volume of rainfall that fell in the month. This flood led to the submerging of roads, houses and the loss of a child who was reportedly swept away by the flood. A building also collapsed on a woman in Ogudu in June as well. The Lagos State Government have made effort to safeguard of the inhabitants of the State by testing the standards of building and ordering the closure of vulnerable buildings over the years. In September 2014, a six- storey building belonging to the Synanagouge Church of Nations, Ikotun, Alimosho LGA, led to the deaths of over a 100 people and 100 casualties, including citizens, foreigners or tourists. 

Residents in Kwara State have also had to mourn their losses since the rains began in June. Heavy downfall led to the collapse of a bridge over the Asa river, Oko-Erin in Ilorin. 2 out of the 5 passengers survived the incident, one lost his live while 2 remain missing, as a result of the abrupt collapse of the bridge.   

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, 9 hours of rain have caused the destruction of 100 houses and the displacement of 300 people on Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state.

According to the Journal of Design and Built Environment, building collapse in the country is caused mainly by ‘poor maintenance culture, design error, poor quality of materials and workmanship, natural phenomenon and excessive loading contributed to about 7%, 15%, 52%, 7% and 20% respectively of building collapse in Nigeria with most of them being private residential buildings executed by indigenous contractors. The study recommended that the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) should increase their effort in sanitizing building materials in the market. More so, construction professionals should ensure proper supervision of workmen and efficient checking of materials before incorporation into building works.’

Femi Morgan