A former Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has said the recent collapse of a 21-storey building on Gerrard Road Ikoyi Lagos was avoidable if the managers of the state had been sincere in their dealings with the people.
George who is a Trustee of Omo Eko Pataki (Concerned Lagos Indigenes) told reporters in his Ikoyi office, on Tuesday, in Lagos that Ikoyi, being a reclaimed land was designed to accommodate only two-storey buildings, saying the plan laid down by the colonial rulers were distorted.
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Daily Trust reports that the Ikoyi building collapse which occurred on November 1 killed no fewer 45 people while 15 were injured.
The state government has set up an independent panel to probe the incident.
Speaking on the issue yesterday, George insisted the tragedy was avoidable if the original plan of Ikoyi was not distorted.
He said, “The Gerrard disaster was avoidable only if the tools of power had been sincere, honest and discerning in their obligations to the Lagosian people. But greed, indifference and deliberate complicity contributed to the tragedy.
“It is not enough to set up just any panel to probe the needless tragedy. We need comprehensive answers to all that appear presently veiled. The guilty must never be spared the full weight of the law. In this wise there is a need for a full competent team of technical and judicial officers to unravel this disaster.
“The panel must conduct its sittings in an open, unfettered forum to ensure probity and fairness. The panel must be truly independent with the powers to subpoena anyone no matter the position the person occupies in the society.”
George who is also the Atona Oodua of Yorubaland said the building collapse was “probably the most devastating building collapse in the history of our state.”
He added, “The whole Ikoyi axis is all reclaimed lands. Knowing the precariousness of reclaimed lands, the colonial authorities predicated all building and construction designs at 2-storey ceiling. Nothing more. It was also meant for purely residential purposes. All these original predication are now blatantly abused.
“The land upon which the collapsed building was erected belonged to NITEL. Who bought this land? If the land was resold, who is the final beneficiary? If the Fourscore management was given approval for 8-storey structure, who changed it to 15 and then to 21? Who are the structural engineers? Which engineers conducted the soil test? What kind of foundation was the structure erected upon?”