Following the Monday’s collapse of a 21-storey building under construction in Ikoyi, Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said yesterday that drastic action will follow the report of the panel he raised to probe the “monumental disaster”.
He spoke yesterday at the site after he cut short his trip abroad because of the tragedy.
The governor named members of an independent probe panel and gave them a 30-day timeline to submit a report.
He released the names of the survivours, three of whom have been discharged.
Members of the probe panel are: Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) President Tayo Ayinde (Chairman); Ekundayo Onajobi (Secretary); Idris Akintilo; Yinka Ogundairo; Godfrey. O. Godfrey and Mrs. Bunmi Ibrahim.
According to the governor, an Executive Order will be signed to give legal backing to the panel.
He assured the people that the law would take its full course on whoever is found culpable.
The governor said: “This is a monumental disaster. Mistakes must have been made in the process of developing the collapsed structure.”
He said the bereaved families would be invited to identify their loved ones, latest tomorrow, after autopsy would have been conducted.
Sanwo-Olu explained that it was difficult to give an accurate number of workers on site when the building came down because there was no manifest, and no one, whether the owner, staff, developer or contractor, has come up to provide such information.
“Not having a workers’ manifest clearly contravenes laws guiding construction work,” the governor said and asked the people to visit the information desk set up on site information about their relatives working on the site could be accessed on www.lagosmind.org/help or a mail sent to email@example.com. The dedicated line to seek psycho-social support is 09090006463.
“My deepest condolences to families and loved ones of people who might have been in this very unfortunate tragic, monumental national loss.
“This situation can be described as a clear national disaster. Indeed mistakes were made from all angles, and this should not be happening in a modern city like Lagos.
“I also thank and commend all the first responders, the very gallant men and women who have been here for almost two days and working to rescue as many as possible. It has been a very difficult journey for them; we appreciate their work and will continue to ensure that whatever needs to be done to get to the root cause of this will certainly be done.
“I had to cut short my journey to Rome for the G20 Summit and the COP 26 Climate Change Conference in Scotland and I visited this site straight from the airport last night.
“Be rest assured that if there are others found in the course of investigation, they will also face the full wrath of the law.
“I have set up a high powered commission of inquiry, it is a strong professional investigative panel consisting of everybody from outside of government. The panel has 30 days to work and report back to us.
“I’ll be signing an Executive Order to give legal backing to their composition so they can stay work immediately and turn out a report not later than 30 days.”
On whether integrity tests will be ordered on similar buildings in the area, Sanwo-Olu said: “This is not something we can rush at, there’s a process to it. Besides, these buildings have probably been here for 15 or 20 years, and so it’s not the same situation with a live construction site.
“Sure, there will be a full audit of aging analysis, how long the buildings have been there, did they notice anything as tenants or as occupants in those buildings, etc. There is a lot of comprehensive work to be done but you cannot compare this to a live construction.
“I have also asked for a comprehensive review of all buildings that are five floors and above under construction in the state. Hopefully I will get it tonight so work can start on conducting integrity tests, non-destructive tests, and the likes.”
The panel’s terms of reference are:
To determine causes or cause of the collapse of the building under construction, whether there were full compliance with physical planning and building materials laws of the state;
To determine whether there was any supervisory or oversight lapse on the part of the regulatory authority in the state.
To determine the number of casualties and fatalities.
To examine any other matter incidental to any of the terms as stated above, and to make necessary recommendations to guide against a recurrence is such incident state.