Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, blamed the collapse of a seven-storey building that was under construction on First Avenue, Banana Island, Ikoyi, on corrupt state officers who were not alive to their responsibilities, and the recklessness of errant developers that are hiding behind Federal Government agencies and issuing building approval.
Sanwo-Olu made the remark when he led a government delegation to assess the destruction, a development, which he described as “irresponsible and unacceptable.”
In the delegation were the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Tayo Bamigbose-Martin, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA), Gbolahan Oki, and others.
The governor during the inspection also ordered the demolition, or sealing of several buildings considered to have structural defects, or built under power lines.
While addressing reporters during the inspection, Sanwo-Olu said: “Like has been reported before now, there are a lot of investigations going on. You can see that they are still clearing the rubble.
“The exercise that we are doing today is not just about this location. The extent of what I would call unapproved extensions. We are at the back of the land that is aborting. You can see that the original line for Banana Island is even not here, it is in front and you can see that there are several extensions granted by both the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). These are the two federal agencies that have been culpable for those extensions. They have done these extensions without our knowledge.
“We have responsibility for building approval. All of the four buildings at the back never got our approval. This is an illegality that is real, and that is why we are going around the property.
“The excuses that have been given that they don’t have access is not acceptable. It is total recklessness by all the developers, and the culpable officers will also be sanctioned. But we have set up an external committee that has been given two weeks to independently ascertain what has gone wrong here, and the committee should finish the work towards the end of next week. This will further strengthen our hands to be able to come up with a robust work plan that we can enforce going forward.
“It is heartbroken that each time we have to go through this time and again. This shows how irresponsible both the developers, some of our citizens that just want to make quick money, and of course our officers who are not alive to their responsibility are.
“We have had to change staff here and there so that we can bring forward robust and very strong monitoring offices, but we are still short of it, I must say. We need to do what we have to do to keep the lives of our citizens safe at all times.”