Onitsha buildings collapse: Soludo constitutes 8-man Panel of Inquiry 

Chinedum Treasure 

Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has approved the constitution of an 8-man Panel of Inquiry over recent tragic incidents involving the collapse of two buildings within Onitsha, the commercial city of the state. 

The incidents were collapse of lockup shops at OduIgbo, Ochanja and The Centenary building at DMGS Onitsha.

Chief of Staff, Ernest Ezeajughi who disclosed this in a statement, listed members of the Panel to include Chairman COREN Anambra State Chapter, Engr Sir Victor MEJU as Chairman and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing as Secretary.

He named other members as Arc Ikenna Eboh- State Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA), TPL Nwofor Ben Obiora, State Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Surv Gabriel Okeke, State Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.

Other members are Bldr. Kingsley Nweke, State Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), MD/CEO Anambra State Material Testing Laboratory, Prof. Ezeagu Akaolisa- Chairman Institute of Structural Engineers.

Ezeajughi further revealed that rhe Panel would have maximum of four weeks or 28 days to conclude its investigations.

According to the statement, “The objective of the Panel of Inquiry is to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the collapse of Lockup shops at OduIgbo Ochanja and the centenary building at Dennis Memorial Grammer School (DMGS) Onitsha. 

“The findings and recommendations of the panel will serve as a basis for corrective actions and policy reforms to enhance building safety and standards in Anambra State.

“TERMS OF REFERENCE:

1. Cause Determination: Identify the immediate and underlying causes of the collapse of Lockup shops at OduIgbo Ochanja and the centenary building at Dennis Memorial Grammer School Onitsha. This includes structural, design, construction, and maintenance factors.

Assess the role of relevant authorities, including regulatory bodies and local government agencies, in monitoring and enforcing building codes and safety standards.

2. Review of Compliance:

Evaluate the extent to which the construction and maintenance of the buildings complied with existing building codes, regulations, and industry standards.

Examine any deviations from approved plans and specifications during the construction process.

3. Responsibility and Accountability:

Determine the accountability of individuals, organizations, or entities involved in the design, construction, maintenance, and inspection of the buildings.

Identify any negligence, misconduct, or corruption that may have contributed to the collapses.

4. Victim Impact Assessment:

Assess the impact of the building collapses on affected individuals, families, and communities, including loss of life, injuries, displacement, and economic consequences.

Recommend measures to support and compensate victims and their families.

5. Preventive Measures:

Propose actionable recommendations to prevent similar incidents in the future, focusing on strengthening building inspection processes, regulatory oversight, and enforcement mechanisms.

Advocate for improved construction practices, materials testing, and quality assurance protocols.

6. Legal and Regulatory Reforms:

Review existing laws, regulations, and policies related to building construction and safety.

Recommend legislative and regulatory reforms to enhance accountability, transparency, and effectiveness in ensuring building safety standards.

DELIVERABLES:

Upon completion of the inquiry, the panel will produce a comprehensive report detailing its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to Mr. Governor.

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