The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has set up a six-man independent investigation team to probe the remote and immediate causes of the collapse of a 21-storey building in Ikoyi.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was on an on-the-spot assessment of the incident, after cutting short his official trip to Rome, where he was to attend the G-20 summit named members of the probe panel at the scene of the incident.
Members of the probe panel include:
The President of Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr Toyin Ayinde -Chairman; Mr Ekundayo Onajobi, a legal Practitioner -Secretary.
Other members are:
Dr. Akintilo Idris Adeleke – a Structural Engineer; Mr Yinka Ogundairo – an Architect; Mr Godfrey O. Godfrey- a representative of the Institute of Builders and Mrs. Bunmi Ibrahim +a property lawyer.
The panel’s terms of reference include but not limited to ascertaining whether there was a compromise of the building codes by the developer, his contractor and statutory regulatory agencies.
The panel has 30 days to submit its report.
While at the scene, the Governor described the incident as “a monumental disaster”, stating that mistakes must have been made in the process of developing the collapsed structure.
He promised a thorough inquiry into the matter, adding that the full wrath of the law would be brought on anyone found to have compromised.
While addressing newsmen at the scene, the Governor charged the investigative team to explore all angles to determine the cause of the collapse.
He said: “We’ve promised to be open and thorough in investigating the cause of the collapse. In that regard, I have set up a high-powered professional investigative panel whose membership consists of professionals outside of the Government. The panel members have been given clear terms of reference and we are giving them 30-day assignment to tell us what has gone wrong at the site.”
He further stated that “The panel will be finding out who the culprits are. The investigation will start from the heads of regulatory agencies. Be rest assured that if there are other people that are found wanting in the course of investigation, everybody will face the full wrath of the law. Members of the panel are people of impeccable integrity and I will be signing an executive order to give the panel a legal backing.”
He reiterated that “Other terms of reference of the panel include, determining whether there was full compliance with physical planning and building materials laws of the State; determining whether there was supervisory or oversight lapses on the part of regulatory agencies, and making necessary recommendations to guard against reoccurrence of similar incidents.”
The Governor however maintained that it was difficult for the Government to know the exact number of people trapped, noting that none of the people linked to the housing project had come forward to offer information on the manifest.
The Governor appealed to the families of those involved stating that:
“I express my deepest sympathy to the families of those that have been involved in this unfortunate incident. For the bodies recovered from the site, we are currently conducting systematic process of identifying them. Before the end of today or tomorrow, the process would have been completed and family members can come forward to identify them.”
The Lagos State Government has immediately set up a medical base and an information desk at the site of the building collapse.
The government has urged persons who believe that their family members were still missing to offer information on identity via a designated website (www.lagosmind.org/help) and on a helpline number (09090006463).
You would recall that the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Arc. Gbolahan Oki, has been suspended indefinitely by the Governor.