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Lagos to set-up independent panel to probe collapsed Ikoyi building

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The Lagos State Government says it is setting up an independent panel to probe the collapse of the 21-storey building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said this in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso on Tuesday.

Sanwo-Olu said that members of the panel would be drawn from the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) and other professional bodies.

He said that the panel would independently investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incident and make recommendations on how to prevent future occurrence.

According to him, the investigation is not part of the internal probe already being conducted by the state government.

The governor has said the government would surely find out what went wrong and punish those indicted.

Sanwo-Olu, as a first step, had directed that the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr Gbolahan Oki, an architect, be suspended from work immediately. The suspension is indefinite.

More equipment and personnel had been deployed in the site to save more lives.

Nine persons – all men – have been pulled out of the rubble alive. They have been taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, 14 others were brought out dead – as at 2.00 pm. on Tuesday.

The governor thanks all first responders and those who had 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 would be set up at the site for people seeking information about their relations who might had been involved in the incident.

He said that the government would be releasing information whenever the need arose, to avoid any sensational reporting of the unfortunate incident.

The Deputy Governor, Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, was today at the site to encourage rescuers and comfort relations of those trapped in the rubble.

Hamzat left the site for the Lagos Island General Hospital to see the survivors.

The government would embark on further foundation and borehole acidic level tests to ascertain the impact on the collapsed building.

These tests, particularly the borehole acidic level, is important for the entire Gerrard Road and adjoining areas.

”We wish to state that there will be no cover-up in the search for the truth in this incident. If anybody is found to have been indicted, he or she will face the law.

”It is important to restate that all developers and property owners are required to adhere strictly to all Building Codes and Planning Regulations to ensure the safety of lives and property.

”Those who ignore such regulations, breaking seals and defying enforcement, will surely be prosecuted,” he said.

Florence Onuegbu

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