•Result of govt investigation out in 14 days
•Nothing’ll be swept under carpet —govt
By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Ikenna Asomba
AS Lagos State Government continues preliminary investigation into the immediate and remote cause(s) of the collapsed six-storey Guest House of the Synagogue Church of all Nations, SCOAN, there is anxiety in the polity on whether or not the right thing will be done.
Located in Ikotun-Egbe Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Lagos, the building was under construction at the collapse claimed over 86 lives.
The investigation is aimed at preventing future occurrence as well as identifying any violation of the state’s building regulatory law and applying appropriate sanction.
According to Lagos state policy on any collapse building, such building is to be taken over by the state government and land titles revoked . There are so many instances where such properties were immediately confiscated. Section 74 of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, 2010, states that, “any property or structure that collapses due to negligence on the part of the owner or developer, such property is to be forfeited to the State Government”.
Though, the state government had threatened to apply necessary sanction in the case of SCOAN if found wanting, so far, no concrete step has been taken even when it seems the structure had no approval.
Some of the church members have also vowed to resist any form of take over of the church land by government, arguing that the disaster was a terrorist attack as the building materials used were of high standard.
Asked if the area of the collapsed building would be sealed off by the state government, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, in a statement, ruled out any plan by government to seal the place for now even as he reiterated that the Six- floor Guest House that collapsed on September 12, did not have building approval.
According to Ayinde, “No plans are in the offing to take over the collapsed structure site until thorough and detailed investigation as to the cause(s) of the collapse has been concluded. Government does not arbitrarily take over properties when investigation is still on-going.”
He continued: “Government has commenced preliminary investigation into the cause(s) of the collapse and would leave no stone unturned and if there is any violation of relevant planning law, residents are assured that government would take appropriate action.
“To this end, a team of engineers from the ministry and other state government agencies are taking samples from the foundation and materials from the wreckage of the building for detailed analysis and testing to ascertain the structural integrity of the building.”
On the veracity of the “Strange Plane Theory”, alleged to have dangerously flown low over the building 50 minutes before the collapse, the commissioner disclosed that the ministry had submitted the video clips, as provided by the church to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) with the coordinate of the collapsed site for investigation and professional comment. As at the press time no update on the investigation so far.
Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Information and Strategy, Alhaji Lateef Raji also said investigation was on going ruling out any revocation matter for now.
“Revocation is always the last resort to ensure total safety of the citizenry and not a punitive measure.” Raji stated.
General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, LABSCA, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun-Odunayo, said that the result of the investigation would be made public in two weeks.
She affirmed that all the necessary samples had been taken by experts for thorough investigation. According to her, “Experts are currently analysing the samples taken from the scene of the collapse building with a view of determining the cause(s) of the collapse. This will take about two weeks before the result is ready. We want to assure Lagosians that nothing will be swept under the carpet.