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REVEALED: Why Sanwo- Olu suspended LABSCA GM over Ikoyi 21-storey building collapse

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday caused a rumble when he suspended the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Mr. Gbolahan Oki, an architect. 

The suspension followed the collapsed of a 21-storey building at Gerrard Road, Ikoyi on Monday, in which over 25 persons have been confirmed dead and several others still trapped and feared dead in the debris.

The state Commissoner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, who announced Oki’s suspension in statement on Tuesday said this was the first step to unravel what went wrong.

Government sources, however, told NewsDay that the sack was necessitated by the  controversies over the actual structure approved for construction.

Before his suspension, Oki, had claimed that the government approved 15 floors for the 21-storey building.

“He got approval for a 15-storey building and he exceeded his limit. I am on the ground here and the materials he used are so inferior and terrible,” Oki had said.

But addressing journalists at the site of the collapsed building on Tuesday, Obafemi Hamzat, the deputy governor, said the owner of the building got approval for 21 floors.

He had said, “This particular one was approved for 21 floors, not 15. If you count, the second building was 14 or 15. The approval was done about three years ago, it is not something new, it is the construction that failed apparently from what we can see.”

A government source who pleaded anonymity said the Lagos State government felt bad with Oki’s statement on the approved floors.

 However, in a document seen by our reporter, it was revealed that only 15 floors were actually approved for the project.

The Development Permit, dated April 2019, was approved by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) on 09/04/2019.

It reads partly, “For Fourscore Height Limited, 44 B,C,D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi. Permission under the provisions of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010 Physical Development Regulations to erect a residential 15 floors building at 44 B, C, D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi (West).”

It further said, “(a) The Planning Permit granted shall become invalid where development has (2) years of the grant of such permit unless the permit is revalidated by the Authority. 

“(b) Every developer shall, on the procurement of his permit proceed to Lagos State Building Control Agency, to give notice of his or her intention to commence Development at Oba Akinjobi Way, Old Secretariat, GRA, Ikeja.

“(c) The Subject site shall be clearly demarcated in accordance with the site plan and be made ready for Development. (d) The developer must complete Form C at all stages of construction and submit the same to Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).

“(e) Non Compliance with the approved planning permit as designed will void the permit, and the development will be regarded as illegal.

“(f) The Developer shall engage the services of relevant registered professionals in the construction and supervision of the building, and submit the particulars of the professionals to LABSCA. (g) A developer of any building above two (2) floors shall insure his/her liability in respect of construction risks and submit a Certified True Copy (C.T.C) of such Insurance Policy Certification with his/her Development Permit to LASBCA

“(h) The owner of the building shall not occupy or permit same to be occupied before obtaining a certificate of fitness for habitation from Lagos State Building Control Agency stating that the building is fit for human habitation.

“(1) Other conditions (please see attached document).

“Failure to comply with any of the above conditions shall attract necessary sanctions on the building in line with the provisions of the extant law.”

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: Don’t paralyse Nigeria’s economy – PFN warns Buhari government

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President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Wale Oke has cautioned the Nigerian Government against further aggravating the suffering of Nigerians through the proposed fuel subsidy removal.

He said the removal of fuel subsidy will lead to hikes in the prices of petroleum products.

In a release issued on Sunday by his Media Office, Oke warned that the implementation of such a policy could increase the hardship currently being experienced by the people of the country.

He lamented that prices of consumables and other items were increasingly getting out of reach of the people, noting that if the proposed subsidy removal is done, it would worsen the hardship of the people of the nation.

“Everybody will feel it, particularly the underprivileged. The negative effects will surely outweigh the positive. The cost of transportation for humans and goods across the country will skyrocket and other things connected which will have a spiral effect on the general living standard of the populace; the suffering will be multi-dimensional. Please, let all stakeholders be sensitive to this avoidable path and do the needful,” he said.

Oke said the situation has become worrisome due to the reduction in the purchasing power of Nigerians caused by the continuous fall in the value of the nation’s currency at the exchange market.

The PFN president, therefore, admonished the government to do all it could to revive the four ailing refineries in the country, with a view to ensuring they operate at an optimal level for a lasting benefit for the country and its people.

“By whatever means, let the Federal Government put its heart into ensuring that our refineries are back to life. In addition, in order to stem the rising cost of living, farmers and others connected to them should be encouraged. This is what can help our economy,” the cleric said.

While maintaining that the Christian body would always support policies that would enhance good governance, he urged the government to put in place tangible palliative measures that could ameliorate the hardship being experienced.

“Without begging the issue, there should be well-defined palliative measures in place that can cushion the effect of the hardship being experienced by Nigerians, especially the commoners. One is not talking about political palliatives that never last. We have seen enough of such,” he said.

Continuing, the bishop pointed out that “an increase in the price of petroleum from its present N165 to N340 per litre can trigger tension and crises in the country which in turn can paralyse our economy if not handled with utmost care”.

On the proposed N5,000 to be paid to about 40 million poor Nigerians by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to ameliorate the effects of the planned fuel subsidy removal, Oke asserted that “Again, the planned introduction of N5,000 for 40 million poor Nigerians is to create a cesspool of corruption. How do you define ‘the poor’? They, mostly, don’t use telephones. They, mostly, don’t have bank accounts. How will the money get to them?”

The renowned cleric advised the government to be wary of policies that could jeopardise the conduct of the 2023 general elections, insisting that all hands must be geared towards steering the wheel of the country to a better place.

As a panacea to the rising cost of food items, the PFN President advised that farmers and relevant stakeholders should be empowered with relevant tools and funds through loans with little interest.

Meanwhile, Oke who is also the presiding Bishop of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries implored the government not to relent in its efforts at ensuring that security challenges in the country become a thing of the past.

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Petrol tanker overturns, explodes in Ogun

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A tanker, loaded with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS or petrol) on Sunday morning exploded around Oju Irin in Lafenwa area of Abeokuta, Ogun state.

Mr Babatunde Akinbiyi, the Spokesperson, Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), confirmed the incident to newsmen, saying the tanker was engulfed in fire due to the uncooperative attitude of people around the axis who were scooping fuel and other unwholesome act which sparked the fire.

The TRACE spokesman explained that the tanker, due to an axle problem overturned around 4 :45 am while making its way inbound Rounder from Oju-Irin, Lafenwa, spilling its content on the road.

He advised the general public to vacate the vicinity, saying that TRACE, police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Fire Service were all on ground to put the situation under control.

“Moreover, the motoring public going inward Rounder axis from Lafenwa, should use Olomore and Oke-Ata axis respectively as alternative routes, since traffic has been diverted away from the area of incident,” he said.

Akinbiyi stated that further information would be provided to the media as soon as possible.

Mr Ahmed Umar, the FRSC Sector Commander in the state, also confirmed the incident, saying that officers of the command are around to control traffic.

Some shops in the axis were affected by the fire.

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Gunmen kidnap DPO, demand N50m ransom in Edo

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Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Ibrahim lshaq in charge of Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State.

The incident occured on Friday night when the DPO was ambushed by armed men while he was driving in his private vehicle along the old Auchi-Ekperi- Agenebode road.

A source who spoke from the area said the incident triggered tension in the community and other neighbouring villages as security agencies search for the abducted DPO.

According to reports, the abductors had made contacts with the family of the victim, demanding N50m ransom as condition for his release.

The state Commissioner of Police, Philip Ogbadu, has also ordered men of the Anti-kidnapping and Cybercrime unit, men of the tactical and strike teams of the state police command to swiftly move to the area and ensure that the DPO is rescued unhurt.

Edo is one of the states in the South-South engulfed with insecurity following the activities of kidnappers, cultists, bandits and other criminal elements.

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