The collapse of a five-storey building at the Lekki Gardens estate at the end of Kushenla Road in the Ikate Elegushi area of Lekki on Tuesday March 8, 2016 and the subsequent steps taken by the Lagos State Government to seal off the property, commence the coroner’s inquest amidst allegations of sub-standard materials, piling of iron rods that were giving way, addition of two extra floors beyond what was officially permitted in spite of government warning and ear-marking of building for demolition; these are now well known allegations. It would also seem that the estate was being built on reclaimed land and finally came down on a rainy night, precipitated by a thunder storm as alleged. Investigations into the cause of the collapse of the building is still going on, the managing director of Lekki Gardens Richard Nyong and Taiwo Odofin a building contractor who had been in police custody for about a day shy of two weeks have since been granted bail.
People have disecteded almost every aspect of the tragedy yet, curiously enough, no one had revealed the brand of cement used. What cement brand was used in the construction? Andy Briggs Report investigations show that Lekki Gardens had used Dangote Cement at its sites like the one at Osborne Fore-shore. Pictorial evidence and eye witness accounts exist to show that Dangote 3X was the binding substance used in the collapsed building as well as others. It is a relevant piece of information in the process to discover why the building came apart. Could the type of cement used reveal anything?
There have been suggestions that cement brands like Ibeto and Elephant do better than Dangote in salty areas and also in the long run. This assertion made by experienced block-molders in the Lekki area needs to be subjected to scientific analysis,
Anthony Chiejina, Dangote Group head of corporate communication did not deny the involvement of Dangote 3X in the building project turned fiasco when informed about Andy Briggs Report findings. Apart from boasting about his academic distinction at Unilag and the U.K, he made three assertions. He said that as soon as the building collapsed, they (Dangote Group) ensured that the site was put under tight security guard to keep out prying eyes. Then he went on to say that Lafarge (one of Dangote’s cement market rival) supplied cement for the building of the collapsed building at Synagogue (SCOAN). Finally, he insisted (referring to ABR’s survey to discover the best quality cement brand in Nigeria) that what mattered in cement sales was affordability and not quality since all cement was binding material.
While this is neither an indictment or recommendation of any cement brand, there is no doubt that consumers need to be well informed to curb the rising phenomenon of sub-standard cement and building collapse. 35 lives were lost and 12 people injured in the Lekki Gardens collapse.
Next week: Why Dangote is not the best quality cement in Nigeria.