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Sanwo-Olu receives panel’s report on collapsed Ikoyi high-rise

By Esther Kalu

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has received reports from a panel constituted to look into cause of collapse of a 21-story building that occurred in Ikoyi November 2021 during which over 40 people were reported to have died, and several others injured.

Sanwo-Olu, who constituted the panel barely two months ago to investigate the controversial high-rise, said that the report was necessary to determine cause of the collapse and that a four-man committee would also be immediately constituted for interpretation of the report submitted by the panel so as to be ascertained on who was responsible for the incident and implementation of the report.

Speaking during submission of the report by the committee at Lagos State House on Wednesday, the governor commended the team’s head as well as other members for ensuring that the task given to them did not drag for too long before forwarding it to the state.

He assured that the report would be thoroughly looked into and that observations and recommendations of the panel’s members would be put into use as soon as the four-man committee expected to be set up turn its recommendations before the state.

The four-man panel constituted by the governor include: the Commissioner for Special Duties, Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola; Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo and Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya.

The governor explained that the members of the committee were selected from different fields to carry out thorough investigations on the collapsed high-rise building weeks after the incident occurred and left the state devastated.

According to him, the job of the panel has ended after submitting its report and the new four man committee would take over the reading of the investigations and interpret it meaningfully for the state.

“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,” he said.

On his part, the chairman of the panel, Ayinde, explained how himself and other members of the panel visited the collapsed building site on several occasions so as to have first-hand information to determine accurate investigations and reports, adding that,  the members jointly coordinated activities of consultants who conducted tests on the site.

The chairman hinted that the panel interrogated 91 persons, requested and received 21 memoranda, and accessed the home of the late CEO of Fourscore Heights Limited, Olufemi Osibono, with a view to gathering useful documents.

Meanwhile, Ayinde assured the governor that the findings and recommendations of the panel’s report is well implemented would ensure a lasting solution to the reoccurrence of building collapse in Lagos State, and elsewhere in Nigeria.

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.” he said.

“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.” he added.

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