The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday ordered occupants in all houses that had been built by Lekki Gardens to vacate their apartments.
He also ordered integrity tests to be carried out on the buildings to ascertain their fitness.
The governor, who visited the site of the five-storeyed collapsed building, which killed 35 people in Lekki, said he was displeased with what he saw, hence the need for immediate action.
Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House, Ikeja, shortly after his inspection of the site and other buildings owned by Lekki Gardens, added that after the tests, buildings found to be defective would be demolished.
He stated that the developer would take the responsibility for the relocation of occupants of the buildings.
He said, “The state government will undertake stability tests on all other buildings constructed by the developers in the state, whether occupied or not, to ascertain their structural stability. The developers will pay the cost of the tests. Any building found to be defective will be demolished.
“Also, the state government intends to carry out an audit of all structures in Lagos to ascertain whether they have planning approval or not. The details of this initiative are being finalised and you will be briefed in due course.
“Let me reiterate that Lagos is open to business, but everybody must comply with the state’s laws and regulations. Our main concern is to continue to improve on the ease of doing business and uphold the rule of law at all times. Those who choose non-compliance and defiance will henceforth face the full weight of the law.”
He stated that since the tragedy occurred, his administration had taken steps by ordering the immediate sealing of the construction site and cessation of further construction, among others.
“In addition, some government officials have been relieved of their duties. I want to assure you that there will no longer be any sacred cows,” he said.
The governor added that he had established a five-man committee under the chairmanship of Dr Moses Ajayi, a past President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria to examine the Urban and Regional Planning Law of the state as it affected the Lagos State Building Control Agency and make recommendations for changes that would ensure effective service delivery.
Culpable engineers to face suspension
The Nigerian Society of Engineers has commenced investigation to ascertain the involvement of its members in the construction of the five-storeyed building which collapsed in Lekki, Lagos.
It said any of its members found culpable would be suspended, adding that a detailed report on the true situation of the incident was being prepared by one of its committees.
The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Otis Anyaeji, spoke on the sidelines of an event in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said, “We have a Failure Analysis Committee that commenced work when this incident happened and we are expecting a report on the matter.
“If we get a report involving any member, we have a machinery to deal with such, both here at the NSE and also at the Council for the Regulation of Engineering. What we do when issues like this come up is that we handle the ethical and professional malpractice aspect. Anyone found culpable stands the risk of suspension.
“However, there are too many people involved in building constructions and most of these accidents are as a result of unqualified personnel in the sector.”
Group warns against punishing innocents
The Association of Real Estate Developers of Lagos State has urged the state government to embark on proper investigations into the Lekki Gardens building collapse to avoid punishing innocent persons.
Speaking during its emergency meeting at Ebute-Meta, Lagos, on Tuesday, the Chairman of AREDOLS, Mr. Nureeni Akinsanya, said proper probe into the matter had become imperative for the government to get the real cause of the collapse.
He called for a forensic investigation, saying such would put an end to cases of building collapse in the state.
He said, “It is pertinent to commend actions taken by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, but we are also requesting proper investigations into the issue in order not to punish innocent persons.”
Akinsanya and the Secretary of AREDOLS, Mr. Mutairu Olumegbon, stated that the association was ready to work with the government in the area of monitoring of buildings under construction in the state.
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