The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, who visited the site of the collapsed five-storey building which wasted the lives of 34 persons in the Lekki area of the state on Tuesday last week, has issued a directive for the evacuation of all occupants living in houses built by Lekki Gardens in order for an integrity test to be carried out on all the buildings to ascertain their safety.
Speaking to journalists after he went on a tour of the collapsed building site, as well as other buildings owned by Lekki Gardens, the governor said the developer should shoulder the responsibility of the occupants’ relocation as government would not fold its hands until the buildings kill other people. He said,
“The State Government will undertake a stability test on all other buildings constructed by the developer in the state, whether occupied or not, to ascertain their structural stability. The developer will pay the cost of the tests. Any building found to be defective would be demolished.
“For those that pass the integrity test, the developer will pay a penalty for any over-development on the site. Further to the above, the State Government intends to carry out an audit of all structures in Lagos to ascertain those with planning approval or not and evaluate the physical development against the approved building plans. The details of this initiative are being finalized and you will be briefed in due course.
“Let me reiterate that Lagos is open to business for those who must comply with the state’s laws and regulations in order to prosper. 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 without fear or favour.”
While he sympathized with those who lost their loved ones and those who sustained injuries in the process, Akinwunmi Ambode made it clear that it is the duty of any government to make sure that the lives and properties of its citizens were protected, adding that his administration was resolute to succeed in that duty.
Narrating the actions taken by his government since the incident happened, Ambode said they ordered the immediate isolation of the construction area and also stopped further work. He also organised an emergency rescue team which made sure that all the injured persons were taken to the state hospitals and also gave an order for the people who owned the crumbled building to hand themselves over to the police, which they did.
He sternly warned,
“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. If there is failure of duty, there will be sanctions.”
The governor gave an assurance that the state government would do everything within its legal jurisdiction, to curtail the prodigality of developers who disobey its regulations and to bring back effectiveness and confidence in the control and supervision of the building processes.
For the purpose of achieving this objective, the Lagos state government had instituted a committee led by Dr Moses Olubunmi Ajayi, a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Engineer Ore Fadayomi, President of the Nigerian Institute of Structural engineers; Mrs. Yetunde Ajayi, Retired Permanent Secretary; General Manager, Lagos State Planning Authority (LASSPA) and the Secretary of LASBCA as Secretary of the Committee.
The terms and references of the committee, which is required to submit its report in 4 weeks includes,
- To examine the Urban and Regional Planning Law of the state as it affects Lagos State Building Control Agency, and LASBCA and also to examine the operations of LASBCA and make recommendations for changes that would ensure effective service delivery.
- To recommend organizational re-structure and appropriate manpower for effective operation of LASBCA.
- To study the legal and operational issues affecting the functioning of the Materials Testing Laboratory and all other matters that will enhance the efficient functioning of the two organizations.