Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has ordered occupants in all houses built by Lekki Gardens to vacate their apartments in order for integrity test to be carried out on all the buildings to ascertain their safety.
The governor, who visited the scene of the five-storey collapsed building which killed 34 people in Lekki area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, on Tuesday last week, was displeased with what he saw and ordered immediate action.
Addressing newsmen after the tour of the collapsed building site and other buildings owned by Lekki Gardens, Ambode ordered integrity test to be carried out on all the buildings built by the company in Lagos to ascertain their safety.
He said the developer should take responsibility of the relocation of occupants of the buildings as government would not wait for the buildings to kill other people.
“The State Government will undertake a stability test on all other buildings constructed by the developer in the state, whether occupied or not, to ascertain their structural stability. The developer will pay the cost of the tests. Any building found to be defective would be demolished.
“For those that pass the integrity test, the developer will pay a penalty for any overdevelopment on the site. Further to the above, the State Government intends to carry out an audit of all structures in Lagos to ascertain those with planning approval or not and evaluate the physical development against the approved building plans. The details of this initiative are being finalized and you will be briefed in due course.
“Let me reiterate that Lagos is open to business for those who must comply with the state’s laws and regulations in order to prosper. Our main concern is to continue to improve on the ease of doing business and uphold the rule of law at all times. Those who choose non-compliance and defiance will henceforth face the full weight of the law without fear or favour,” he said.
Commiserating with those who lost their lives and those injured in the process, Ambode said the responsibility of any government was to ensure the safety of lives and property of its citizens and that his government was determined not to fail in that duty.
He stated that since the tragedy occurred, his administration took some steps by ordering the immediate sealing of the construction site and cessation of further construction; ensured the co-ordinated emergency rescue of all injured victims and treatment at its hospitals and ordered the owners of the collapsed building to submit themselves to the police, which they did.
“In addition, some government officials have been relieved of their duties. I want to assure you that there will no longer be any sacred cows. If there is failure of duty, there will be sanctions,” he warned.
He assured that the state government would do everything within its powers to check the excesses of developers who flout its regulations and would restore efficiency and confidence in the building control and supervision process.
To this end, Ambode said the government had established a 5-man committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Moses Olubunmi Ajayi, a past President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria to examine the Urban and Regional Planning Law of the state as it affects Lagos State Building Control Agncy, LASBCA and examine the operations of LASBCA and make recommendations for changes that would ensure effective service delivery.
Other terms of reference of the committee, according to Ambode are: to recommend organizational re-structure and appropriate manpower for effective operation of LASBCA, study the legal and operational issues affecting the functioning of the Materials Testing Laboratory and all other matters that will enhance the efficient functioning of the two organizations, while the committee would submit its report in four weeks.
Other members of the committee are: Engineer Ore Fadayomi, President of the Nigerian Institute of Structural engineers; Mrs. Yetunde Ajayi, Retired Permanent Secretary; General Manager, Lagos State Planning Authority (LASSPA) and the Secretary of LASBCA as Secretary of the Committee.