By Olasunkanmi Akoni
THE six-man Tribunal of Inquiry set up by Lagos State Government to look into the collapse of a 21-storey building at 44 B, C, D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, yesterday, explained why it has not made its activities known to the public.
It, however, urged the public, professional bodies and construction industry stakeholders, as well as individuals to submit memoranda that have a direct bearing on the incident and their recommendations to prevent future occurrence.
The chairman of the panel, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, spoke at a media conference on the update and activities of the panel so far since its inauguration.
On November 1, 2021, a 21 storey building collapsed killing about 45 persons, including the developer, Mr. Femi Osibona, and 15 injured.
Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu had inaugurated a six-man Panel to probe the incident to prevent future occurrence.
The Tribunal was given 30 days to complete its task which had spent 19 days of sitting already with 11 days to the end of the sitting.
Calling for memoranda, Ayinde said: “The purpose of this press conference is to apprise the press, and the general public, of what the Tribunal has done so far, and what our activities are likely to be in the remaining days ahead.
“The Tribunal which comprises six professionals in the private sector, and who are certified members of their professions, began sitting immediately after its inauguration on Thursday, 4th November 2021.
“There may have been concerns or agitations about why the Tribunal has not spoken to the Press. We will like to state that members of the Tribunal are professionals, and our calling demands that we make statements from informed and verified positions.
“We are compelled to speak only when investigations have been made, reports and documents submitted, queried, analysed and discussions held with relevant stakeholders.
“So far, the activities of the Tribunal included setting up the secretariat and arranging logistics for the successful conduct of activities; A visit to the site of the collapse on Friday, November 5, for a general assessment of the rescue operations, and to determine areas where expert consultants’ services would be required.
Speaking on the procedure for sitting, Ayinde said: “We have also interviewed some of the LASG staff in the relevant MDA’s.
“We however appeal to members of the public, professional bodies and construction industry stakeholders, as well as individuals who have useful information and invite them to submit memoranda which have a direct bearing on the particular issue being investigated, as well as their recommendations to prevent future occurrence.
“The Tribunal began formal interviews with witnesses from Tuesday, November 16, 2021, to identify the roles played in the activities that led to the collapse of the building and received the report from the consultants who conducted verticality tests on the remaining structures standing in the premises of the collapsed building.
“The results of the tests on the construction materials are still being awaited.
“The interviews conducted have been recorded for record-keeping, and the Tribunal would meet as many as are willing to present credible and factual statements, with evidence(s), relating to the collapse.
“The Tribunal’s mode of communication would be to brief the Media through Press releases as and when required, so that the public may be aware of the conduct of the proceedings.”