11 more dead persons have been retrieved from the rubbles of the 21-storey building that collapsed on Wesley road, Ikoyi, on Monday, bringing the number of recorded deaths to 15.
But the fallout from the collapse has led to the indefinite suspension of the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Mr. Gbolahan Oki, by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday.
Lagos Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, announced the setting up of an independent probe panel and the suspension of Oki.
The statement by Omotosho said the suspension of Oki is a first step to unravelling what led to the collapse.
Oki had on Monday shocked many when he disclosed that the approval given for the collapsed building was for 15 floors, without explaining why the developer raised it to 21. He was also silent on whether the agency monitored the construction.
He announced, according to news agency reports, that the owner of the property has been arrested and would face the law because people have died in the disaster.
“He got an approval for a 15-storey building and he exceeded his limit. I am on ground here and the materials he used are so inferior and terrible.
“The materials he used, the reinforcement, are so terrible. He got approval for 15 floors but built 21.
“I think he has been locked down. He has been arrested before now,” he said.
The GM said four people were rescued and three people died, adding that rescue efforts were still ongoing.
“We are still here and have four machines working as at this moment,” he told NAN.
On the panel to probe the collapse, the Lagos Information Commissioner said, “Members of the panel will be drawn from 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.”
“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).
“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 media are hereby notified that the government will be releasing information whenever the need arises to avoid any sensational reporting of the unfortunate incident.”
Not less than nine persons have been pulled out alive and taken to the hospital, but the National Emergency Management Agency disclosed that 11 more dead bodies have been removed from the collapse site.
Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos State Chapter, David Majekodunmi, who visited the site of the building collapse, said: “My first impression is that the country is in a mess. We are in a mess because if we have done what we are supposed to do, either on the private or government side, we wouldn’t be having this kind of incident.
“Like it’s said by (Femi) Falana, the renowned lawyer, about six or seven weeks precisely where we have all the allied professionals in the construction industry together, he said ‘we should stop talking about building collapse; go and search yourselves, what is your regulatory building doing? Your regulatory body is supposed to regulate things like this,” said Majekodunmi.
“Looking at this, you can’t determine what is actually the cause of the collapse. In a nutshell, we are standing in front of the signage which is supposed to be a prerequisite at a site.
“You cannot see the name of the architect, the structural engineer, and other consultants. But there is so much going on on the platform where the number written on all these consultants happens to be the developer.
“I will tell you just a little history because the government has a big fault for this. In 1986, a National Building Code was drafted by all the professional bodies in the construction industry – seven of them. This National Building Code was not signed until 20 years after it was drafted.”