…Urges Occupants To Vacate Premises
…Sets Up Five Man Committee To Reorganise Building Control Agency
Gov Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Tuesday directed that stability test be conducted on all building constructed by the Lekki Gardens to ascertain their structural integrity.
Ambode said that any of the buildings found to be defective, would be demolished.
The governor, who addressed Government House Correspondents, shortly after inspecting the site of a collapsed building belonging to the Lekki Gardens, said the incident which claimed 34 lives and left several others injured was “one building collapse too many”.
He said since the unfortunate incident, the state government had taken several steps to stem the tide of building collapse.
Ambode noted that his administration was determined to ensure the safety of lives and property of citizens residents in Lagos.
“The State Government will undertake a stability test on all other buildings constructed by the Developer in the State, whether occupied or not, to ascertain their structural stability.
“The Developer will pay the cost of the tests. Any building found to be defective would be demolished. For those that pass the integrity test the developer will pay a penalty for any over-development on the site,” the governor said.
Ambode, who commiserated with those who suffered loss and injury from the building collapse, said that since the incident, the state government had ordered the immediate sealing of the construction site and cessation of further construction.
He added that the government also coordinated emergency rescue of all injured victims and their treatment at the state government owned hospitals while the owners of the collapsed building and some government officials were being prosecuted over the incident.
The governor assured that his administration would carry out audit of all structures in the state to ascertain those with planning approval and those without approval.
He also said government would evaluate the physical development against the approved building plans, saying that details of the plan would be made public soon.
“I want to assure you that there will no longer be any sacred cows. If there is failure of duty, there will be sanctions.
“I also want to seize this opportunity to assure Lagosians that the state government will do everything within its powers to check the excesses of developers, who flout its regulations.
“We will restore efficiency and confidence in the building control and supervision process in the state,” the governor said.
To this end, he said that a five man committee to examine the Urban and Regional Planning Law of the state as it affects the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).
The Committee is to be chaired by TPL (Dr) Moses Olubunmi Ajayi, a past President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria.
Other members include Engr Ore Fadayomi, President of the Nigerian Institute of Structural engineers; Architect (Mrs) Yetunde O. Ajayi, a retired Permanent Secretary; General Manager of Lagos State Planning Authority(LASSPA) and Secretary of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) as secretary of the Committee.
Ambode charged the committee to examine the operations of LASBCA and make recommendations for changes that will ensure effective service delivery.
It should also to recommend organisational re-structuring and appropriate manpower for effective operation of LASBCA; study the legal and operational issues affecting the functioning of the Materials Testing Laboratory and other matters that will enhance the efficient functioning of the two organisations.
The committee has four weeks within which to submit its report.
The governor reiterated that the Lagos State “is open to business for those who must comply with the state laws and regulations in order to prosper.
“Our main concern is to continue to improve on the ease of doing business and uphold the Rule of Law at all times.
“Those who choose non-compliance and defiance will henceforth face the full weight of the law without fear or favour”.
Speaking to journalists at the site of the collapsed building, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowose, said Gov. Ambode and his team were at the site to personally examine the level of damage and the determine how best to prevent a re-occurrence going forward.
He announced that integrity test would be conducted on all the structures erected by Lekki Gardens in the area, and advised occupiers of other structures constructed by Lekki Gardens, to vacate the buildings immediately.
Anifowose said the site of the collapsed structure had been condoned off and that government would take appropriate steps after the conclusion of investigation by the police.
“In the best interest of the occupiers of the other structures, their lives are very important to us as a government and we are appealing to them to vacate the buildings immediately until investigations are completed.
“The person behind Lekki Gardens got approval for ground, first, second and third floors, but after doing the roofing, he removed it and added additional two floors which caused the building to collapse.
“So, we have to carry out integrity test on the other structures and the cost implication for present occupiers of the other structures to vacate the buildings would be borne by the developer,” Anifowose said.