With over 32 confirmed deaths from the collapse of a 21-storey building in Ikoyi, Lagos, the anomaly has underscored the need to push for the prosecution of culpable officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).
A Nigerian lawyer and member of the Body of Benchers, Mr. Kunle Uthman made this call in a letter addressed to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, describing the incident as an example of culpability of government officials in the state.
While most reports have been on the confirmed dead bodies from the ongoing rescue exercise by several government agencies, not much emphasis is being placed on the role of the supervisory agencies whose failure to perform their duties and enforcement of punitive measures in respect of a recalcitrant contractor and owners of private properties, led to the tragedy.
“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,” the letter read.
In explaining this gory incident, the General Manager Lagos State Building Control Agency said 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.
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?
Apparently corruption and avarice has become not a social malaise but constitute the DNA of most regulators and in this case ‘LASBCA’.
This incident is a shame. It is irresponsible, insensitive, unfair, unjust and indeed criminal and even the federal government should ensure that the global community do not perceive the country as a lawless society, where public officials are allowed to go scot-free, when culpable or negligent in the performance of their duties.
Since the General Manager of that agency has stated 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.