The Tribunal of Inquiry into collapsed buildings in Lagos State Monday said the weak implementation of the laws regulating the building industry by the government agencies was responsible for most buildings that collapsed in the state.
The tribunal, which the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, constituted on May 20, this year, also identified flagrant violation of the state’s building control law and gross corruption in public life as another rationale for collapsed buildings.
The chairperson of the tribunal, Ms. Abimbola Ajayi, reeled out the root causes of collapsed buildings in the state while presenting the final report of the tribunal to the governor at the State House, Ikeja yesterday.
At the presentation of the eight-volume report, Ajayi said the 2010 Planning Regulation and Building Control Law “empowers the government agencies, but the system does not because of political, cultural, administrative and other interventions.”
According to her, weak implementation by the relevant government agencies, flagrant abuse and deliberate flouting of the laws by the public, crass indiscipline and gross corruption by all and sundry rendered the laws ineffective.
Of all the incidents of collapsed buildings investigated so far in the state, the chairman said no professional had been indicted, noting that non-professionals and unregistered practitioners “are the ones majorly active in the industry causing this sad state of affairs.”
She, however, acknowledged that the provisions of the laws regulating the building industry in the state were adequate, which she said, if implemented and strictly adhered to, would reduce the incidence of building collapse.
The chairman lamented that there “is no record of persons prosecuted or sanctioned for incidents of building collapse in the state by the Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Police or other known organ.
“In the course of the inquiry, 130 reported cases of collapsed buildings were reviewed, out of which 10 sites were selected for visits. It is worthy to note that three buildings collapsed during the inquiry by the tribunal and two occurred after the tribunal completed its assignment,” she explained.
Also speaking, the governor urged the professional bodies in the building and construction industry to take decisive action against their members found wanting in the incident of collapsed building.
The governor promised to implement recommendations in the eight-volume report, assuring Lagosians that the white paper would be released soon “to ensure that cases of collapsed building are mitigated.
“The construction sector of our economy is where there are specialised professionals. I believe that many of the challenges facing the country are created by people. If professionals do more, we can solve the problems.
“There are usually mild challenges and they can be solved by men and women especially people who have the right skill. From the report, it showed that after the white paper is issued, the state ministry of justice, police, professionals and all those involve in building activities will have role to play in ending collapsed building.”
He explained that it is the responsibility of the state government “to ensure that no life is lost in circumstances that can be avoidable. For us, human life is very important and it is the most important gift that we have. And we will do everything within our capacity to protect and nurture it to its fullest capacity.”