Ikoyi Building Collapse: ‘Top Lagos Officials’ Indicted as Tribunal Submits Findings

The rubble of the collapsed building
*The rubble of the collapsed building
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Indications emerged yesterday that top officials of the Lagos State Government were indicted in the 21-storey building which collapsed on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, late last year as the six-man Tribunal of Enquiry investigating the cause of the tragedy submitted its report to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Although the findings and recommendations of the report have not been made public as the government is expected to present a White Paper on the recommendations, it was learnt that certain officials, who must have administratively played a role in the approval and construction of the ill-fated building in the first place, were cited in the report as culpable.

According to the building administrative procedure in Lagos State, a building with more than 10 floors must get the approval of the state governor after all the professionals must have carried out due diligence and recommended such for approval.

However, in the report submitted to the governor, the tribunal also pointed out that most incidences of building collapses are rooted in the collapse of values, morals, and ethics, which the state, and indeed Nigeria, needs to work on to avert needless deaths and sorrow. It added that those who were saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring that due process was followed failed in one way or the other at different times, which led to the recurring decimal of building collapse tragedies.

The tribunal, however, sought the protection of its members, saying it acted strictly based on the information at its disposal and would not want to be labelled as villains for discharging the assignment without sentiment and prejudice.

Presenting the report to the governor at the Ikeja State House, the chairman of the panel, Olutoyin Ayinde, a town planner, said the panel had done its best by presenting the facts without failing to mention those culpable in the incidence.

He noted that “People always want things to turn out right in Nigeria. The reality is that many can’t pay the price because, often, those who seek to do the right things end up being labelled as villains.”

He added that they discharged the assignment to the best of their ability, without sentiments, and that, “we acted based on the documents that were made available to us as well as the information gathered from all the witnesses who appeared before the tribunal.

“We, therefore, seek protection as members of this tribunal to be seen as having discharged this assignment to the best of our ability, without sentiments, and that we have acted based on the documents that were made available to us as well as the information gathered from all the witnesses who appeared before the Tribunal,” he said.

Ayinde, who is the National President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, also revealed that in the course of its investigations, it visited the project site for a general assessment and interrogated a total of 91 persons in 35 interview sessions, adding that 21 memoranda were received with some documents it obtained in the home of the late CEO of Fourscore Heights Limited, Mr Olufemi Osibona.

He added that the panel also coordinated the activities of the consultants who conducted tests on the site and reviewed documents from relevant MDAs. While thanking the state government for giving them the opportunity to carry out the responsibilities, he expressed optimism that with this submission to the state, and the subsequent implementation of the recommendations going forward, confidence would be restored in the construction sector of the national economy.

(New Telegraph)

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