Friday , June 21 2024

Ikoyi Building Collapse: Concerned Residents warn against cover-up

….No Compensation For Victims,LASG says

Following the publication of the White Paper on the 21-storey building which collapsed on November 1, 2021 in Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, killing 45 people including, Femi Osibona, reactions have continued to trail the readiness of the state government to implement the recommendations of the tribunal in order to completely tackle the building collapse tragedies in the state.

TheStory had on January 6, 2022 reported that top government officials were indicted in the incident for comprising professional ethics and standard expected of them in the approval and constriction of the ill-fated 21 storey building.

While some expressed worry over the inability of the state government to formally make the content of White Paper known as it did on the Endsars report, others called on the government to revealed the names of the top government officials alleged to have been found culpable in all the reports published in some national dailies,if truly the state government is committed to saving lives the of the residents by addressing the ugly incidences of building collapse.

They said that it is not enough to release a white papers,saying those would in one way or the other found culpable must been be seen to face the wrath of the law to serve as deterrent to those corrupt government officials and others private sector who derive pleasure in cutting corners and compromise the approved standard in building process in the state.

This was even as the state government said there is no compensation for victims of the 21-storey building , saying that the law has no room for such compensation.

Speaking with TheStory on the report of the White Paper, a member of the Nigeria Institute of Surveyor, who simply identified himself Mr Jide Awe, said everyone who is familiar with Lagos building law understands the level of which official to play which role in building approval of such structure.

He warned against cover-up, saying those indicted must be made known to the public in order to save lives. “Building of that floors is not a business of low-ranking officers in government just as small firm can’t handle such project. The state government must walk the talk, if it must be taken seriously. There have been reports from such findings on building collapse in the past but there is no solution because of the government’s unwillingness to deal with the problem,” he said.

But reacting on the government’s position on the White Paper, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, insisted that 26 out of the 28 recommendations of the six-man panel set up to examine the Ikoyi building collapse were adopted. He ruled out possibility for compensation for the victims.

According to him, all those who evacuated bodies of their loved ones and asked for assistance were given money for transportation and funerals. He added that nobody has come out to say he or she lost money in the incident.

Omotoso said: “The law has no room for such compensation, but if you’re talking about doing this on compassionate grounds, I know Mr. Governor as a compassionate leader. If other people also put up a case for assistance with verifiable documentation, I am sure it is something that Mr. Governor may consider”.

Although the findings, recommendations and government White Paper have not been made public the commissioner insisted that top officials of the government indicted in the 21-storey building which collapsed on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, late last year will face sanctions.

He said every other person found guilty of compromising the process of adherence to quality standards in the ill fated building will be prosecuted.

The six-man Tribunal of Enquiry investigating the cause of the tragedy had since submitted its report to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu

On those doubting if indeed those indicted will be prosecuted, the Commissioner said Attorney-General Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) had been directed by Governor Sanwo-Olu to ensure that those found guilty of compromising the process of adherence to quality standards at the Foreshore Towers in Ikoyi are prosecuted.

Omotoso disclosed that the state government was already fashioning out ways of collaboration with the private sector to strengthen monitoring and enforcement activities in the built sector in response to one of the recommendations of the panel on lack of adequate personnel to monitor building projects across the state.

It would be recalled the panel chairman Mr. Toyin Ayinde, a town planner, blamed the collapse on the erosion of professional ethics and disregard for due diligence, saying that the frequent ugly development was clear indication of the values placed on human lives.

In the course of their investigations, the panel members visited the project site for a general assessment; coordinated activities of the consultants who conducted tests on the site and reviewed documents from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

About Ayinla Muritala

Agbede is a seasoned Journalist with more than a decade experience as the fourth estate of the realm. He is a graduate of Mass Communication from the Univeristy of Ilorin and currently freelance with few of the Nigerian Dailies.

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