The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), has said that the construction of the 3 high-rise buildings at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos commenced before provisional approval was granted.
The revelation was made by LASBCA before a Coroner’s Inquest into the circumstance that led to the collapse of the 21-storey building at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
According to NAN, the assertion was made by the counsel to LASBCA, Mr A.S Odugbemi, while questioning Mr Muritala Olawale, the Managing Director of Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd, who was a former consultant structural engineer to the project.
Olawale was reported to have withdrawn his services through a letter dated February 20, 2020, over disputes on how the project was structurally executed.
Odugbemi during proceedings, objected to the contents of paragraph 17 of Olawale’s Statement on Oath to the Inquest.
He stated that late Mr Femi Osibona, the Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Ltd., contractor to the project, had informed his team that he had received provisional approval for the project’s construction.
According to Olawale’s Statement on Oath, Osibona showed his team a copy of the provisional approval from the Lagos State government and ordered them to commence construction on the site.
What the LASBCA Counsel is saying
Odugbemi in his objection to Olawale’s claims said LASBCA never granted Osibona a provisional planning permit when the team moved to the site to commence construction in January 2019.
He stated that LASBCA granted provisional approval in April 2019.
Odugbemi said, “Will you be surprised if evidence is provided to you right now that work had started before the provisional planning approval was granted in April 2019?.’’
What the former structural engineer to the project is saying
Olawale in his response to Odugbemi’s assertion said, “I will be surprised. All the approval processes were being handled by the client (Osibona). I cannot answer the questions right now. I need to check my records.”
Olawale, who did not give a specific answer to Odugbemi’s query on whether the three high-rise blocks were covered by a general insurance policy as required by law, however, informed the panel that prior to construction, a soil test was conducted at the site by another company contracted to do the job.
He said, “We have submitted the result of the soil test of the site to other panels investigating the collapse.’’
What you should know
- Recall that on November 1, 2021, a 21-storey building, one of the 3 high-rise buildings under construction and situated on Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, collapsed, killing about 46 persons with 15 persons rescued alive. One of the deceased was the owner and promoter of the collapsed building, Osibona.
- The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on November 2, 2021, ordered an indefinite suspension of the General Manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr Gbolahan Oki, as well as announced the setting up of an independent panel to probe the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the building.
- The panel was to independently investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incident and make recommendations on how to prevent future occurrences. The investigation is not part of the internal probe already being conducted by the government.