Monday, October 2, 2023


REVEALED: Collapsed Abuja building wasn’t approved for conversion to residential apartment

REVEALED: Collapsed Abuja building wasn’t approved for conversion to residential apartment
August 27
08:28 2022

It was on a Thursday night. Hafeez Olayinka, an aluminium window fabricator, alongside four other construction artisans were sleeping after a stressful day inside an almost completed two-storey-building along Aso Savings road in Kubwa, Abuja, when their rest was violently disrupted around 11.30pm.

It took Olayinka another couple of minutes to realise that the building was caving in on them.

An officer of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) monitoring the rescue operation at the collapsed structure

When the incident happened, there was a total of seven persons in the building; five artisans were sleeping inside, while the security guard and his friend were in the compound.

Olayinka, who was hired to fix the aluminium windows on Monday, said he was scared and fretful. He would later trace a light to a point where he and four other colleagues were rescued from the rubble.


“We thought of our survival first. In the midst of the collapse, I saw a light somewhere and I traced it. Later I heard people’s voices, so we followed the light to the voices. When we got there, my colleague was ahead of me so he was pulled out first. They asked him if there was another person and he said yes so they pulled me out too,” Olayinka said. 

By 12am on Friday, police officers deployed to the scene of the incident took Olayinka and other survivors to the Kubwa General Hospital for medical attention. 

“The police came around after 12 and carried us straight to the general hospital in Kubwa,” he said. “They gave us injections and cleaned me up. We’re 7 in the compound, so 2 people are still remaining under the collapsed building.”


While five survivors were rescued, the remaining two who were trapped inside the collapsed building were confirmed dead around 5pm on Friday. 

Neighbours were anxious to see the outcome of the rescue mission.

‘There was never an approval’

Ikharo Attah, senior special assistant to the FCT minister on monitoring, inspection and enforcement, said available information showed that the collapsed structure was designed as a shopping plaza but was altered to accommodate residential apartments which put more pressure on the damp-proof course (DPC). 

Attah said the developer also failed to get approval for the construction. 

“We later realised that there was no approval at all for the construction. The construction was around the Kubwa village settlement, so there was no enforcement from our end,” he said. 


“From what we’ve gathered, the building was initially constructed as a shopping plaza. Thereafter, the reports that we got from residents and from the team here is that the owner was warned because, at a certain point, it was converted into a residential building. The ground floor remained a shopping mall, but they were putting up some blocks of flats on the first and second suspended floors.

“That was the worry people around here had raised before now, that you cannot alter a shopping mall into a residential apartment, thereby giving it more load than what the foundation was meant to carry.”

Attah said the FCTA will embark on structural tests on two-storey buildings around the scene of the incident to determine “how solid and strong they are”.

“We have a policy; once a building collapses, the land is forfeited or revoked and I’m very sure that the FCT minister will revoke this property and convert it into a park or a garden for residents around the neighbourhood. That’s the policy of the FCTA,” he said.


TheCable understands that the owner of the building and the engineer in charge are currently wanted by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).



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