By Ebenezer Ishola
The Tribunal of Inquiry set up by Lagos State Government into the collapse of 21 storey building at 44 B, C, D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday disclosed that results of the tests conducted on the construction materials are still being awaited.
It implored the public, professional bodies and construction industry stakeholders, as well as individuals, to submit memoranda that have direct bearing on the unfortunate incident, which occurred on November 1.
The tribunal, chaired by the President of Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Toyin Ayinde, said that the memoranda should be submitted at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, noting that all memoranda, recommendations and submissions should be received on or before Wednesday, November 24.
Speaking during a press conference held on Monday at the tribunal secretariat in Lagos State Waterways Agency, LASWA Terminal Building (LASWA), Ikoyi, on the update and activities of the panel since its inauguration, Ayinde said the tribunal has not made its activities known to the public based on professional ethics. He said the Panel members are “compelled to speak only when investigations have been made, reports and documents submitted, queried, analysed and discussions held with relevant stakeholders.”
He said the six-member tribunal began sitting immediately after its inauguration on Thursday, November 4 and within two weeks of operation, it had received documents from some government MDAs, which panel members had started studying.
It would be recalled that on November 1, a 21 storey building in Gerrard Road, Ikoyi collapsed, killing over 40 persons, including the developer, Femi Osibona, while some people were rescued.
Subsequently, on Thursday, November 4, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, inaugurated a six-man Panel to probe the collapsed building incident with a view to preventing future occurrence. The tribunal was given 30 days to complete its task.
The Panel members are; Ayinde, a lawyer in a private law firm, Ekundayo Onajobi (Secretary); a structural engineer, Dr. Akintilo Idris Adeleke; an architect, Yinka Ogundairo; representative of Institute of Builders, Mr. Godfrey O. Godfrey, and a real estate lawyer, Mrs. Bunmi Ibrahim.
Ayinde said the tribunal had visited the site of the collapsed building for a general assessment of the rescue operations, and to determine areas where expert consultants’ services would be required, adding that members of the tribunal also visited the General Hospital, Broad Street, to interview some of the survivors, who could offer eyewitness accounts.
He also disclosed that the tribunal had listed more than 30 stakeholders relevant to the construction industry and the collapsed building, whose views, position papers and recommendations would be received and considered by his tribunal, adding that those the tribunal considered necessary to chat with would be invited.
The tribunal members, who observed a moment’s silence during the press conference in honour of those who died during the collapsed building, said the tribunal has engaged the services of consultant building materials testing laboratory for the purpose of investigating and conducting necessary tests on materials used for the construction of the collapsed building.
He said the tribunal has also engaged the services of a consultant Land Surveyor to conduct verticality tests on the remaining structures within the premises of the collapsed building, adding that it has written to relevant Government MDA’s to request for all files and documentation relating to the collapsed building, as well as writing all consultants and developers/contractors associated with the project on 44 B, C, D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi.
“There may have been concerns or agitations about why the Tribunal has not spoken to the Press. We will like to state that members of the Tribunal are professionals, and our calling demands that we make statements from informed and verified positions. We are compelled to speak only when investigations have been made, reports and documents submitted, queried, analysed and discussions held with relevant stakeholders.
“The Tribunal would like to state that some documents have been received from some government MDA’s and members have started studying them. We have also interviewed some of the LASG staff in the relevant MDA’s. We however appeal to members of the public, professional bodies and construction industry stakeholders, as well as individuals who have useful information and invite them to submit memoranda that have a direct bearing on the particular issue being investigated, as well as their recommendations to prevent future occurrence,” the tribunal chairman said.