*…sets up independent probe panel, help desk
*9 rescued, 15 dead
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has ordered indefinite suspension of the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Mr. Gbolahan Oki, an architect.
The suspension followed the collapsed of a 21-storey building at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi on Monday, in which over 15 persons have been confirmed dead and several others still trapped and feared dead in the debris.
Govenor Sanwo-Olu, in the meantime, has set up an independent panel to probe the collapse of the 21-storey building.
The panel comprises the Nigeria Institute of Architects, NIA; Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, NITP; Nigeria Society of Engineers NSE, and other professional bodies.
It will independently investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incident and make recommendations on how to prevent future occurrence.
The investigation is not part of the internal probe already being conducted by the government.
The state Commissoner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, announced this in statement on Tuesday.
The statement read in part: “Governor Babajide has said the government will surely find out what went wrong and punish those indicted.
“The Governor, as a first step, has directed that the General Manager of LASBCA, Mr. Gbolahan Oki, an architect, be suspended from work immediately. The suspension is indefinite.
“More equipment and personnel have been deployed in the site to save more lives.
“Nine persons – all men – have been pulled out of the rubble alive. They have been taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, 15 others were brought out dead – as at 2pm.
“Mr. Sanwo-Olu thanks all first responders and those who have joined the rescue efforts, including construction giants Julius Berger, Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).”
Meanwhile, a help desk is to be set up at the site for people seeking information about their relations who may have been involved in the incident.
The state government, assured the media that the government will be releasing information whenever the need arises to avoid any sensational reporting of the unfortunate incident.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor, Dr Kadri Hamzat, at the site to encourage rescuers and comfort relations of those trapped in the rubble.
The deputy governor, subsequently, left the site for the Lagos Island General Hospital to see the survivors.
According to Hamzat, “the state government will embark on further foundation and borehole acidic level tests to ascertain the impact on the collapsed building.
“These tests, particularly the borehole acidic level, is important for the entire Gerrard Road and adjoining areas.
“We wish to state that there will be no cover-up in the search for the truth in this incident. If anybody is found to have been indicted, he or she will face the law.
“It is important to restate that all developers and property owners are required to adhere strictly to all Building Codes and Planning Regulations to ensure the safety of lives and property.
“Those who ignore such regulations, breaking seals and defying enforcement, will surely be prosecuted.”