By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Lagos State Infrastructural Maintenance & Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) has called on owners of old masts in the state to remove them with immediate effect.
Governor Babatunde Fashola had, Wednesday, expressed worry over low quality materials used by telecommunication operators in the erection of telecomm masts in the state.
The warning came as two masts collapsed, yesterday, at the Dolphin Estate, where scores of worshippers escaped death.
The incident occurred at the Premises of H.F.P. shopping centre, Dolphin Estate, while the affected building was E-l-Shaddai Church, located next to the shopping centre, where property worth millions of Naira were destroyed.
Items affected, apart from the building, included electrical and musical appliances, computers, photocopying machines among others.
Visiting the scene of the incident yesterday, LASIMRA General Manager, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, ordered that other standing masts belonging to two banks within the premises to be removed.
According to Igbokwe, the state government has taken the inventory of such masts, where almost 5.000 are in a bad state.
He said the owners would be liable for any harm which the collapse of such mast would have incurred on lives and property.
According to him, owners of such masts who fail to pull them down are going to pay trice the cost that would have been paid by the agency.
He said it was not something unusual for a mast to collapse due to some natural factors such as heavy wind, storm or flood. â€œBut what we discussed is that many of these masts have become rust, while the owners do nothing to maintain them, either by painting, or rehabilitation.
â€œWe are not out to witch-hunt anybody. If we are using handsets, we need to realise that there are some hazards associated with it. But government would not condone carelessness from owners of the masts,â€ he said.
He laments the situation by which the state is not allowed to regulate the activities of the mast owners.
â€œBy the time government finished the fine-tuning of the new law, incidence of collapse of mast in Lagos would be reduced,â€ Igbokwe said
Reacting to the development, General Manager of H.F.P Properties Limited, Mr. Macdonald Eluma, said the company had assessed the damage done to the church, and that the management would look into it.
Meanwhile, LASIMRA has called on the H.F.P. to remove the debris from the roof top of the affected church, to allow the commencement of repair of the building.
The General Overseer of the Church, Bishop Lanre Obembe, said the lawyers to the church were handling the matter.