By GboyegaÂ Akinsanmi
The Lagos State Government yesterday said it would prosecute developers of a three-storey building that collapsed in Ilasamaja on Thursday, killing at least one person.Â
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Wasiu Anifowose said the state government had started investigating the building collapse and would not hesitate to apply the full weight of the law to deal decisively with unscrupulous developers in the state.Â
He gave the update after inspecting the site of the collapsed building yesterday, noting that the people criminally unsealed a stop work order on the building and continued construction before its eventual collapse.
The commission explained that the building in question was disapproved by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), but the developers illegally broke the seal to continue work.Â
He said officers in charge of that area had two weeks before the collapse disapproved the development because it was being built contrary to building regulations.
â€œThis particular building had been monitored and had been sealed off.Â Our officers had come back to monitor for compliance, but they were prevented by hoodlums from carrying out their statutory responsibilities. Before the building finally collapsed, our officials were there again but were chased back to the office to reinforce when this tragedy happened.
â€œWe had actually served all the necessary statutory stop work notices and this is evident in our records that the building was sealed off but this developer broke the seal twice and continued with the illegal development and this is the result of the illegality,â€ he said.
He added that building had been sealed off on account of the evidence that the materials found on site were substandard, aside the fact that the developers had no development permit to embark on the construction.
Anifowose said the state government â€œis unhappy with the rate of illegal developments within the State. Despite deploying officers to monitor development to prevent such ugly occurrences, some wicked, irresponsible and unscrupulous developers still carryout nefarious illegality.
â€œOnce a building is sealed off, the seal should not be broken. It is dangerous and is a criminal offence punishable under the building control law.â€
He, however, enjoined all property owners and developers to employ the services of qualified professionals before embarking on any form of development in the state.