*Wale Bob Oseni wasn’t involved in construction—- Widow, brother

*Only certified professional bodies should erect structures—Senate

*As estate surveyors want culpable professionals prosecuted

By Dayo Johnson, Henry Umoru, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Bose Adelaja

THERE was a mild drama, yesterday, as two families of the victims of the 21-storey building that collapsed on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi in Lagos State engaged in verbal war over the identity of one of the victims of the incident at Infectious Diseases Hospital, IDH, Yaba.

This came as the Senate, yesterday, warned that only certified professionals in the building sector should be allowed to erect structures in the country.

Similarly, President of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors ad Valuers, Chief Emmanuel Wike, called for the prosecution of professionals that compromised the integrity of the collapsed Ikoyi building.

READ ALSO: Ikoyi building collapse: How developer ignored directive to insure property

Meanwhile, as at 7 pm, yesterday, search and recovery efforts were still ongoing as men of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, and its counterpart, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and other responders were still on site excavating the rubble, which had greatly reduced to almost the ground floor.

The casualties remained 44, while survivors were 15 and missing persons were less than 40.

Relatives fight over recovered bodies at IDH

However, Vanguard gathered that a dispute erupted at the point of cross-examination of the body to match the description of a female victim as presented by her family. 

But another family member (names withheld), who was observing the process at that time, was said to have cried out that the body belonged to her family.

A serious argument was said to have ensued between the families but was carefully managed by the officials, who resolved that all families must submit their blood samples and collect the results before the victims could be identified and retrieved. 

When Vanguard visited IDH, yesterday, some family members complained about identifying bodies recovered on time due to mutilation, making it difficult for easy identification, except by medical examinations like DNA.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, said families whose blood samples don’t tally with the victim and will not be given audience by the officials at the centre, “some families presented distant relations but were turned down.”

At the IDH, yesterday, it was learned that few family members were present to fulfil the procedures.

A relative to one of the victims, Mr. William Iroha said: “We presented a distant relative for blood sampling but turned back on the account that only blood relation should present blood samples.

“The deceased’s siblings will have to travel from the village to respond to this.”

Another source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Unclaimed corpses are often given a mass burial to decongest the morgue.

“The next of its kind will take place in Ikorodu, Badagry and Epe.”

At press time, information presented to Vanguard revealed that less than 10 family members of the victims have fulfilled the requirement for identification to retrieve their loved ones.

Besides, policemen were on ground to forestall break down of law and order at the centre. 

Wale Bob Oseni wasn’t involved in construction — Widow, brother

Meanwhile, in a solemn tribute made available to Vanguard, widow of Wale Bob-Oseni, one of the victims who died in the rubble, Mrs. Adeola Oseni, and sibling, Abass Oseni described the deceased as a “hardworking young and upwardly mobile Nigerian.”

In a statement, the family said: “On Thursday, November 4, 2021, our hope that our husband, brother, son, nephew, friend and the core of many networks of hardworking young and upwardly mobile Nigerians, Wale Bob Oseni, would be one of the survivors of the ill-fated crash was dashed.

“Since we identified his body, we have been struggling with the nightmarish reality of our irreparable loss, the chasm of his absence and the multi-dimensional proportions of this transition from being to nothingness.

“It is not true that Wale Bob Oseni was a director or contractor in the Fourscore Properties construction transaction.

“The owner, Femi Osibona and Wale, were both alumni of Mayflower School, Ikenne where both of them bonded.

“It was this camaraderie that made Osibona invite him to see the dream project he was building.

Only certified professional bodies should erect structures —Senate

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who condemned the building collapse where many lives were lost, incident, said that the situation was one too many.

According to Lawan, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, should in consonance with professional bodies, civil engineers, the structural engineers, their bodies, their institute and all professional bodies ensure that only certified, competent and qualified professionals be involved in putting structures.

The Senate President was responding to a Point of Order raised by the lawmaker representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who came under Order 43 on the Ikoyi Building Collapse.

Earlier, the Senate directed the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to work with the state government to provide necessary assistance to survivors.

Prosecute professionals responsible for collapse — Estate surveyors

On his part, the President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Chief Emmanuel Wike, called for the prosecution of professionals that compromised the integrity of the collapsed Ikoyi building.

Speaking at the conference of the institute, held in Akure, Wike said “civil servants that violated their code conduct in the building collapse that led to the death of over 49 persons should be made to face the wrath of the law.”

The President lamented “situation where lives and resources were lost each time there is building collapse in the country, saying some property owners deliberately engage quacks to cut corners while the officers of the Ministry of Physical and Urban Planning, look the other way because of corruption.”

He disclosed that the institution has “secured a court order to prevent lawyers and quacks from practising the profession of estate management.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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