The chief building safety regulator in Lagos State has been dismissed in the wake of the Lekki Gardens building collapse, which killed 34 people.
Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor of Lagos State, approved the dismissal for negligence of Adeigbe Olushola, the general manager of the Building Control Agency (LASBCA), following the 8 March disaster.
He also promised an audit of every building in the state to determine whether it had planning permission, and whether it was built according to Nigeria’s building code.
Ambode also approved the dismissal of Adeoye Adeyemi, LASBCA’s head of inspection and quality control, and Gbadebo Dosunmu, the zonal district officer. Another senior manager, Sherifat Akinde, was compulsorily.
Despite repeated calls by victims, experts and many other Nigerians, there seem to be no end to the collapses. Of more concern, according to experts, is the lack of punishment for those responsible for them– Punch Magazine
The announcements were made by Olabowale Ademola, the head of Lagos’ civil service. She added that the governor was personally grieved by the loss of life in the collapse, and warned public officials, building owners and contractors that it would no longer be "business as usual".
"This is a clarion call to them to be alive to their responsibilities as any act of negligence will face sanctions, while hardworking officers will be rewarded appropriately," she said.
On 10 March, the Lagos State Police Command announced the arrest of Richard Nyong, the chief executive of Lekki Worldwide Estate. He has now been arraigned in a Lagos magistrates’ court, where he was remanded in custody for 30 days while police investigations continued.
Taiwo Odofin, a contractor working on the scheme, will also be held in jail for a month.
On Tuesday 15 March, Governor Ambode ordered that stability tests carried out on all other buildings developed by Nyong’s company.
He said the government would audit all structures in the state to check whether they had planning approval or not, and to evaluate their condition compared with the approved building plans.
"I want to assure you that there will no longer be any sacred cows," he said. "If there is failure of duty, there will be sanctions."
He added that details of the plan will be made public soon.
The Lekki Gardens is not the worst collapse in recent Nigerian history. In 2014 the Synagogue Church collapse in the Ikotun-Egbe area of Lagos State killed 115 people.
A subsequent inquiry found a list of faults in the building’s construction, including the use of beams with a cross-section of 750mm by 225mm rather than 900mm by 300mm, too few reinforcing columns that were also too weak and a failure to fit movement joints.
Nigerian magazine Punch reported last week that there had been a spike in the number of building collapses in the country, with more than 20 cases in the past 10 years.
The magazine commented: "Despite repeated calls by victims, experts and many other Nigerians, there seem to be no end to the collapses. Of more concern, according to experts, is the lack of punishment for those responsible for them."
Photograph: The governor of Lagos State visits the site of the Lekki Gardens collapse (Akinwunmi Ambode)