A senior lawyer, and member, Body of Benchers, Chief Kunle Uthman has petitioned Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, indicting government officials in charge of building regulation in the state over the collapse of a 21 story building at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday.
Uthman in his petition demands immediate arrest and prosecution of the General Manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency, and other officials involved in the approval and supervision of the building. He also want the governor to immediately conduct investigations into similar buildings across the state to their prevent imminent collapse since it is obvious that government officials compromised their duties due to corruption.
As a result of increasing rate of collapsed buildings in Lagos State the Government promulgated the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law Cap U2, Lagos State Building Control Agency Regulations 2019. Sections 2-11 of the Regulations have made adequate provisions for the following:
2. Notice Of Intention To Commence Construction;
3. Documents to be Submitted by the Developer with the Notice of Intention to commence Construction;
4. Site Inspection;
5 Authorisation to commence Construction;
6. Construction Site;
7. Party Wall And Buildings Surrounding Construction Sites;
8. Building Stage Certification;
9. Building Certificate Of Worthiness;
10. Certificate Of Completion And Fitness For Habitation;
11. Use Of Certified Professionals And Artisans;
Below is the full petition:
Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu,
Governor of Lagos State,
RE: 21 STOREY COLLAPSED BUILDING, GERRARD ROAD, IKOYI, LAGOS STATE.
The above subject matter refers. We all witnessed live on Arise and Channels television stations, the rubbles of a collapsed twenty one (21) storey building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria, and ongoing rescue exercise by several government agencies, including LASEMA. In explaining this gory incident, the General Manager Lagos State Building Control Agency said (as copiously published in Punch newspaper) that the approval for the collapsed building was fifteen (15) and not 21 floors, and admitted that poor materials were used in construction of that building, hence its collapse.
This incident is an example of culpability of government officials and its supervisory agency and failure to perform their duties and responsibilities or enforcement of punitive measures in respect of a recalcitrant contractor and owners of private properties. Necessarily, it would have taken appreciable time to construct the 6 additional floors, but the Agency responsible to issue stop work order and mark the building itself for demolition chose to ignore the construction of those additional floors and therefore failed in enforcement of extant laws.
Why was a “Stop Order” not placed on this building and why was there no supervision of quality of materials as explicitly stated in several building control laws and legislation in the State? In this particular instance, which has resulted in fatality and deaths, the officials of the Lagos State Government responsible, especially the Lagos State Building Control Agency are culpable and should be prosecuted immediately, forthwith and without delay. This particular incident is a glaring example of officials of the government of Lagos State, compromising their duties and responsibilities for consideration. What is this hype of Centre of Excellence all about, if a 21 Storey building in highbrow Ikoyi will collapse as a result of negligence of irresponsible public officials, who earn salaries and whose lifestyles are maintained at the expense of the taxpayers?
We cannot continue like this, as apparently corruption and avarice has become not a social malaise but constitute our DNA. This incident is a “shame of a nation” state, unwarranted, unsolicited, irresponsible, insensitive, unfair, unjust and indeed criminal and even the Federal government should ensure that the global community do not see us as a lawless society, where public officials are allowed to go Scott free, when culpable or negligent in the performance of their duties.
The General Manager of that Agency has by his own statement that approval was for 15 and not 21 floors surreptitiously indicted himself and his Agency. The proper thing to do is to immediately arrest and prosecute him and his cohorts in that Agency in a court of law and to conduct integrity tests of all ongoing construction of buildings in Lagos state in excess of 10 floors. A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.