Frequent collapses put Ikoyi upscale market on edge
Ikoyi, one of the upscale real estate markets in Nigeria, has been in the news for the wrong reasons in recent times; frequent building collapses in the highbrow areas.
From Gerald’s 21-storey building collapse in 2021 which killed 42 people, to the recent Banana Island building collapse which claimed one life, Ikoyi has continued to be the cynosure of all eyes, forcing the Lagos State government to take a more drastic action to enforce compliance with regulations.
Ikoyi, located in Eti-Osa LGA of the Lagos State, is about the most affluent neighbourhood in the state and Nigeria at large. It is not too far from Lagos Island described as the heart of the city and is bordered by Obalende with part of it falling under Ikoyi-Obalende Local Council Development Area (LCDA). It is an exclusive district for the super-rich and the most influential people in society.
It is filled with opulent homes and luxury hotels in popular areas such as Awolowo Road, Falomo, Alfred Rewane, Boudillon, Osborne, Parkview Estate, Banana Island, among others. It has swanky boutiques, restaurants, and other exotic and serene landmarks.
It is not unexpected that cost of accommodation, whether outright sale, lease or rent, and land, would be over the ceiling.
Checks by Daily Trust indicated that the average cost of land per square metre is as much as N1.2m to N2m depending on the location. Though in some of the not-too-upscale parts of Ikoyi, some landed properties could cost less, but not what a middle-class person can afford.
Also, a two-bedroom flat for rent is between N4m and N14m. Some of the properties surveyed in the upscale parts of Ikoyi, especially the popular estates like Parkview Estate, Osborne Foreshore Estate, and Boudillon cost as much as N12m to N20m for two and fourbedroom flats or bungalows.
At any point in time, developers find Ikoyi as one of the lucrative markets to invest in and expect good and rapid returns.
In essence, it is called an investors’ delight. Developers like The Address Homes, Afriland Properties Limited, Bayview Real Estate, Foreshore Water Limited, among others, have found Ikoyi an incredibly marketable real estate haven.
But recent collapsed buildings in Ikoyi have raised concerns from experts that the occurrences might impact the market negatively.
On April 11, 2023, a 7-floor building under construction in Banana Island, the upscale part of Ikoyi collapsed with many of the labourers trapped. One person was later confirmed dead.
The incident at First Avenue Banana Island, according to the government, happened while casting was being done.
Daily Trust reports that rescue services and journalists had a hectic time accessing the site of the collapsed building due to the security arrangement in the estate.
“We ask members of the public to remain calm and expect further information from the ministry as we know more,” the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Planning and Urban Development, Mukaila Sanusi, said.
A week after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is worried over the frequent cases of collapsed buildings in the state upon which a former commissioner for planning was asked to resign, expressed concern over several unapproved developments happening in Banana Island and other parts of Ikoyi.
He, thereafter, directed the demolition of no fewer than 20 buildings at Banana Island and its environs.
He said, “I led a delegation of government officials for an on-thespot assessment of a seven-storey building under construction which collapsed recently in the Banana Island area in Ikoyi.
“A lot of investigation is going on right now, while they are still clearing the rubbles from the collapsed building. We have given orders to stop work, not only on this site but also on all of the construction sites in Banana Island.
“I also ordered the marking for immediate demolition and sealing, of many completed and uncompleted buildings with various building infractions and those that were not granted appropriate approvals for construction by agencies of government.
“Our administration will no longer tolerate the activities of greedy developers who reclaim land from water illegally in connivance with some government agencies.
“What we witnessed today is what I will call an unapproved extension into the water. It is heartbreaking each time we have to go through this and it shows sometimes how irresponsible those developers and some of our citizens are and of course, our officers who are also not alive to their responsibilities.”
The Chief Executive Officer of UPDC PLC, a foremost indigenous real estate firm, Mr Odunayo Ojo, said the situation with the collapsed buildings in Ikoyi calls for concern as the incidents were capable of discouraging investors to put their money there.
He said as a proactive measure against structural defects, the right professionals must be contracted. He also said when buildings collapse, “we are all responsible in our individual rights but the real culprits are those who are to enforce development control.
“When the Gerald building came down, many investors that were talking to developers, especially in the Diaspora, just went back. There are unintended consequences to this. It reduces the confidence that people have. They don’t want to know whether you are UPDC or anybody, they would just keep their money.
“It takes time before that confidence will come back. How long do we have to talk about this? We really need to deal with the issue,” he said.
A former president of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers ((NIStructE), Engr. Victor Oyenuga, tasked the government to enforce the standard which compels builders to use professionals at all stages of construction.
He said, “There are three major reasons why buildings collapse. One is defective error and defective design, then the quality of materials which is what we call quality control. Are the materials in order? And then, the personnel who are in charge of supervision.
“For example, we have 10 buildings that have collapsed recently and defective design is eight out of them; quality control is four while supervision is seven. Then the emphasis we should be laying should be on the design as well as the supervision.
“When we are talking about design errors, the question is who are the designers? Are they qualified? If they are not, why can’t the government make a pronouncement?
“The buildings that the structural engineers are designing are not falling down. Why can’t government at all levels say, ‘if you want to design a house, you must use a competent, qualified structural engineer who is a member of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers ((NIStructE).
“To the glory of God, none of these buildings that have fallen down has been handled by any of our members. Our own buildings are standing.’”