By OLASUNKANMI AKONI
Lagos — Lagos State Government has vowed to prosecute all those who might have been responsible directly or indirectly for the recent collapsed buildings in the state. The latest being on Ishaga Road in Surulere, which claimed four lives.
At a joint inter-ministerial briefing by Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, the government said culprits would not go unpunished.
Ahmed noted that the building on Ishaga Road had earlier been sealed up by agencies of the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, but was broken into by the developers who illegally continued with the development of the defective structure.
He said it was discovered that the contractor was working clandestinely on Sundays after breaking the “stop work seal” placed on the structure believing that the level of monitoring was always minimal on weekends.
The Commissioner said “basically, we are increasing manpower to monitor even after approvals have been given. Government is not happy at the avoidable deaths that happened at the site and this is why this particular incident will not be allowed to go just like that.”
He said the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development had been given a mandate to go ahead and take decisive actions on any building which structural integrity had been carried out by the Material Testing Laboratories and confirmed to be defective.
Also speaking, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said before any seal was placed on any building, certain things must must have happened and determination made that such a building was unfit for human occupation.
According to him: “So, it is really a grievous offence for anyone to break the seal and go into that building because that person is not only endangering himself, but also inviting danger upon others who as a result of the seal broken would go into that building.
“If anyone is culpable of re-opening it illegally, that person is liable for murder or man- slaughter. He has caused the death of other people by virtue of his deliberate act. And so under the criminal laws, there are also other offences even causing grievous hurt to other people.”