The Lagos State Police Command confirmed 10 March that they had arrested the owner of a construction company in the wake of a building collapse that may have killed as many as 35 people.
The man detained was Richard Nyong, the chief executive of the developer that was building a residential property in the city of Lekki, located just to the east of Lagos. The building collapsed on 8 March, burying workers and their families who were living on the site.
The governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode (pictured), instructed all directors of Lekki Worldwide Estate to submit themselves for interrogation to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police within 24 hours or face immediate arrest.
Steve Ayorind, the Lagos state commissioner for information and strategy, issued a statement saying the building was designed to be a three-storey structure, but two further storeys has been added to it. It was reported in the Nigerian press that this had led to the serving of a "contravention notice" and the sealing of the site by the Lagos State Building Control Agency to prevent further work taking place.
"In a brazen act of defiance and impunity, the owners of the building, Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited, the promoters of Lekki Gardens, criminally unsealed the property and continued building beyond the approved floors until the unfortunate incident of Tuesday which has led to loss of lives," Ayorind said.
Victor Suru, a bricklayer working on the site, told the Reuters news agency: "After they finished building the house, rain fell and the house shifted a bit. They put iron in front of the house but the iron couldn’t hold the house They left it like that and continued building."
The Lagos State Government also warned that developers that failed to comply with building and construction regulations, or attempted to subvert the law, would face criminal prosecution.
Lekki City is a new district based around a free trade zone and still largely under construction.
Lekki Gardens is one of the largest property developers in Nigeria, known for its upmarket schemes.
Image: The governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode, instructed all directors of Lekki Worldwide Estate to submit themselves for interrogation (Akinwunmiambode.com)