My brain keeps playing game on me as I ponder on possible flimsy excuses someone somewhere will coin for the sad Lekki gardens building collapse occurrence. Am expecting someone to say “An airplane was seen flying overhead few minutes before building collapsed”. Sigh. RIP to departed souls.
Few years ago (precisely 2014), an old friend of mine called to seek professional advice before parting away with his hard earned money. With the media publicity hitting airwaves back-to-back, Lekki Gardens generated suspicious curiosity. Largely, the price offer for the houses was so enticing and almost irresistible yet unrealistic (considering so many factors). My personal visit to famous and award winning Lekki Gardens was very brief – an eye opening and disappointing one. Spotting out snags was an easy task. On that fateful day, I concluded that the sole priority of the smart promoters of Lekki gardens (GTRich Investment Limited/Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited) was built on serious cost saving and profit maximization at the expense of ignorant public. Seems they really understood the system well and capitalized on it. In words of Richard Nyong, founder of Lekki Gardens “From the onset, it was NOT about construction technique, land use, pricing or innovative designs, but… interview with Richard Nyong (MD, Lekki Gardens). Oh my goodness!!! I remember how the promoters took the real estate market by storm with so much swag and noise. Also, they expanded very fast. To followers and investors, Lekki gardens’ pace of expansion to regions (Abuja, Port Harcourt) in dire need of housing was faster than fast. Houses were offered with ridiculous bonus giveaways. Lekki Gardens had a smooth coaster ride while it lasted and perhaps made the likes of Mixta Africa (formerly ARM Properties) and UAC Properties reevaluate their marketing strategy. I try to picture the look on the faces of all the people they endorsed right now. More reason why endorsement for any product should be tied to integrity and not for mere sake of monetary gains.
It is so sad and bad that nothing was done to expose shoddy craftsmanship exhibited by Lekki Gardens. No professional body countered the development. No government agency issued out any stop order. At least, none to my knowledge. Very well, GTRich Investment Limited/Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited seem to have some strong godfather(s) sponsoring the project and virtually everyone turned blind eye. Eye Witness report by Channels TV as at 18 Sep 2015.
Another damage has been done. Poor innocent souls gone (RIP). Frankly, it is not enough for Lagos State government to set up another probe panel. We all know setting up such committees is mere formality. Such will never bring back to life any of the lost souls. Rather, it is another juicy opportunity for some people to enrich themselves. Sadly, that’s the way probes roll in Nigeria. SCOAN probe is still ongoing! report #2: Eye Witness report by Channels TV
I hope this will be a wake up call for professional bodies in the construction industry. Today is a better day to savage decaying image of construction professionals in Nigeria. It is time for NIA, NIOB, NSE, NIESV, etc to join hands and work in unity. Time to bury our ego and fry any beef. Beyond any politics and value human lives! Am not sure if GTRich Investment Limited/Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited engaged the service of any consultant architects (there are +/- 5,000 registered architects in Nigeria) or other professionals. Perhaps EVERYTHING WAS done in-house. Sadly. Another wake up call for government agencies and professional bodies.