The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday dismissed the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Olushola Adeigbe.
Adeigbe’s sacking, according to the government, is as a result of the last week collapse of a five-storeyed building in Lekki, Lagos.
The governor also approved the dismissal of the Head of Inspection and Quality Control of the agency, Adeoye Adeyemi and the Zonal District Officer of the agency, Dosunmu Gbadebo, while the Zonal Head of Eti-Osa West of the agency, Mrs. Sherifat Akinde, was compulsorily retired from the Lagos State Civil Service.
Ambode, in a statement by the Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola, said the affected officers had been indicted for negligence, which he said was an act of misconduct under the Public Service Rule 040401.
“Rule 040401 of the Public Service Act of Misconduct states that a willful act of omission or general misconduct to the scandal of the public or to the prejudice of discipline and proper administration of the state government should be visited with dismissal from the public service in line with the Public Service Rule 040503,” the governor said.
The head of service further explained that the disciplinary measure was part of the recommendations of the Personnel Management Board to Ambode, as a result of the building collapse.
She warned public officials, private building owners and contractors, who subverted building regulations that it would no longer be business as usual, saying that the dismissal of the officers would serve as a wake-up call to public servants.
“It is also 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,” Ademola said.
On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, a building under construction at Lekki Gardens, Ikusenla Road, Ikate Elegushi, collapsed, killing no fewer than 35 people.
Experts laud sacking
Some experts in the building construction sector have described the sacking as a step in the right direction.
Some of them, who spoke with our correspondents, said it would serve as a deterrent to government officials, as well as developers.
The National General Secretary, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Akintoye Adeoye, said best practices had to be adhered to irrespective of the status of a developer.
He said, “The Lagos State Government has been doing everything possible to ensure that the spate of collapsed structure comes to a zero level.
“They even put a law in place that any developer whose structure collapses will forfeit the site. They are now sending a message to all of us that they are serious. If the government has carried out its investigation, then it has done the right thing.”
Akintoye, however, called on the government to conduct more investigation into the incident.
“I would prefer they thoroughly investigate the incident so that innocent people will not be punished,” he added.
The Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Lagos State chapter, Adelaja Adekanbi, said many civil servants were victims of powerful forces which influence them in the discharge of their duties.
“In Nigeria, there are so many powerful people who influence things. Even if you say no, they will get back at you. The mistake these civil servants made was that even if there were some powerful people trying to interfere in their jobs, they should have stated that in their report. But now that this has happened, those people will not come out to defend them,” he added.
Adekanbi, who handled a part of the Lekki Gardens project before resigning due to what he termed compromise of professionalism, said the incident was a wake-up call to agencies and professionals to do their jobs without fear or favour.
He said building collapse might continue if people didn’t employ the services of professionals.
He said, “Building collapse is something that has happened and will continue to happen until professionals are allowed to do their jobs.”
An architect, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said substandard structures around the Lekki area had become common and the government needed to do something urgent.
He said the government had sent a strong message out by the sacking that it would not be business as usual.
“The governor has put an innovative step in place. When people know they can lose their jobs, they will sit up. Apart from the top men, the people next to them should be investigated too because those at the top don’t really take bribe; they only send out people.
“Now, officials will refuse to take money and do the right thing,” the architect said.