The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has on Wednesday, received the report of the panel investigating the collapse of a 21-storey building in the Ikoyi area of the state.
The PUNCH reported that the building which was located on Gerrard Road in Ikoyi collapsed on November 1, 2021.
The skyscraper, owned by Fourscore Heights Limited, trapped over 50 persons, including the firm’s Managing Director, Femi Osibona; his friend, a United States of America-based Nigerian businessman, Wale Bob-Oseni; his personal assistant, Oyinye Enekwe, and clients.
About 44 persons were said to have died as a result of the incident while nine survivors were rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building.
Days after the incident, while rescue operations were still ongoing, Governor Sanwo-Olu declared that he had set up a panel to investigate the collapse.
The panel’s report was submitted to the Governor by the Chairman, Mr Toyin Ayinde, at Lagos House, Ikeja.
Those present during the presentation included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) and other members of the panel.
“Let me on behalf of the people and the government of Lagos State first acknowledge the very difficult task that has been passed on to you and the commitments and the quick response that each and every one of you gave to the assignment. We know that you all have been chosen from different professional backgrounds but you were indeed ready to serve the people for this very important assignment.
“Let me therefore commend and thank you for that exercise. I will be constituting a four-man committee almost immediately that will read through the report and I am giving them the end of next week to get back to the State Executive Council,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Speaking earlier, Ayinde expressed hope that the findings and recommendations of the panel’s report would be implemented by the government to bring a lasting solution to incidents of building collapse not only in Lagos State but nationally.
Ayinde on behalf of the panel members appreciated the Governor for giving them the opportunity to serve the Lagos State government and the people of the state, noting that the panel spent approximately six weeks on the assignment and submitted the report as well as electronic recordings of all the sections and videos of proceedings in a hard drive to the Lagos State Attorney-General.
This is as he revealed that the panel visited the project site for a general assessment, coordinated the activities of the consultants who conducted tests on the site, received and reviewed documents from relevant MDAs and conducted 35 interviews.
He said the panel interrogated 91 persons, requested and received 21 memoranda and accessed the home of the late CEO of Fourscore Heights Limited, Mr Olufemi Osibono, with a view to gathering useful documents.
He said, “The tribunal had the opportunity to access the home of the late CEO of Fourscore Heights Limited in the presence of members of his family, where some documents that were scanned helped in gaining further insights into the case, particularly the processes that led to the construction and eventual collapse.
The tribunal also hosted the representation of the developer’s company, comprising two legal firms. It is on record that in their first and second appearances, the lawyers expressed the fact that they were external lawyers to the company and had little knowledge about the case in hand.
“Having spent approximately six weeks on this assignment, we now wish to make our submission to the Governor of Lagos State who constituted the tribunal. We need to note however that building collapses is rooted in the collapse of values, morals and ethics, which we need to work on as a nation. We cannot sow the wind and not expect to reap the whirlwind. Therefore, ethics and due diligence need to be restored.”