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Lagos building collapse: Ambode set up five-man c’ttee to probe Ita-Faaji tragedy

…summons officials over incident of injured persons at demolition site

…LASG directs owner, developer of ill-fated property to appear or face sanction

…demolishes 2 more buildings; Group wants affected pupils admitted in public schools

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsuru Olowoopejo

lagos—Determined to stem cases of  building collapse in Lagos, the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, inaugurated a five-man committee to conduct a thorough investigation into the immediate and remote cause(s) of the last Wednesday collapsed three-storey building on 63 Massey Street, Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island, which claimed 20 lives, including children.

File: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left); General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Tiamiyu Adesina (left); Chairman, Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corp (LNSC), Rtd. A.I.G Israel Ajao (2nd right) and Chairman, Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area, Mr. Kamar Salau-Bashua (right) during the Governor’s visit to the scene of building collapse at Massey Street, Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

However, following reported case of four persons who got injured during a demolition exercise at Egerton Street, Monday, Vanguard learned that Governor Ambode summarily summoned some of government officials and aides over the development and expressed his displeasure over the avoidable incident.

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The governor, it was gathered, later instructed his aides of the need to intensify demolition and monitoring exercises across the state without causing any form of damage.

Addressing journalists in Ikeja on the inaugurated committee, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Rotimi Ogunleye, urged residents to assist the government by exposing any building with sign of distress across the state.

Ogunleye also directed the owner and developer of the collapsed building to appear at the ministry for discussion in its quest for further fact-finding of the incident.

He said: “The developer and the owner must come forward and present their case before us. It is an invitation for them. If they keep away, it suggests that they have something to hide. You all know the step we took on Lekki Gardens when it collapsed.”

Ogunleye, explained that the committee, chaired by Engr. Wasiu Olokunola, was expected to proffer remedial measures to stem future building collapse and determine level of negligence on the part of the developer or owner and the role of the government.

He stated that the choice of members of the panel was based on professionalism in their respective fields, saying, they will investigate the causes of the collapse and submit appropriate recommendations to the government.

Ogunleye assured that the recommendation of the panel would be speedily implemented as government was determined to stem the tide of collapsed building in the state.

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He said the panel had two weeks to submit its report to the government for prompt action.

On activities embarked upon to prevent the ill fated building from collapsing, Ogunleye, said efforts were geared towards demolishing the structure before it caved in.

According to him: “Prior to last Wednesday collapsed building, we have captured 149 buildings which were marked for demolition across the state. In the first phase last year, we removed 40 structures across the state.

“We were about embarking on the second phase in which we have itemized 30 structures to be removed before the building on Massey Street collapsed. Now we have scaled up the structures to 51. The number is not restricted to the Lagos Island alone.

“Of the 51 buildings, no fewer than 48 were on Lagos Island alone. So, the issue of monitoring within the axis and other parts will be stepped up to ensure that the government rid the state of distressed buildings.

Group wants affected pupils in public schools

Meanwhile, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All, CSACEFA, Lagos State, has urged the state government to provide admission for all willing affected pupils into public schools within the axis.

In a statement made available to Vanguard, by Acting Lagos Coordinator, CSACEFA, Mrs. Aderonke Kimemenihia-Eseka, said that prompt intervention by the government would afford the affected pupils not to miss their present academic school term.

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They also urged government to set up more public primary schools to cater for educational needs of children in communities where private schools “appeared to be thriving due to distance of public schools to family homes.”

The group also donated some items to the victims of the collapsed building, to cushion the effect of the disaster.

Two more structures demolished

Meanwhile, in the ongoing demolition exercise, the total number of distressed buildings demolished on the Island so far risen to 23 when it pulled down two more yesterday.

Public Affairs Officers, PAO Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Mr. Gbadeyan Abdulraheem, who confirmed the number of demolished building so far, said that the two buildings were sited on Egerton Street and another behind Oke-Arin Market.

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