ENFORCING LAWS WON’T REDUCE BUILDING COLLAPSE – LAGOS OFFICIALS
By Ufuoma Egbamuno
The rate of building collapses in the country will not reduce anytime soon except there is a “paradigm shift” and a change of “mindset” amongst Nigerians. This is the view of two Lagos State officials who were guests of the Morning Crossfire on 99.3 Nigeria Info FM Lagos.
On Wednesday evening, a Three-Storey building collapsed at K Farm, Fagba, Ifako Ijaye Local Government Area of Lagos State. Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the newly appointed General Manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the news.
According to the LASEMA boss, the building was “under construction, (but) people occupying the building have been evacuated and the injured are responding to treatment.”
On Thursday, two officials of the state, Engr. Lekan Shodeinde, General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA) and Mr. Fumilayo Osifuye, General Manager, Lagos State Urban and Physical Planning were both unanimous in their assessment that enforcing laws all the time will not solve the issues of building collapse.
“Having the premise that the Developers will do anything, even illegal, is a very wrong premise,” Shodeinde said. “That is the cause of building collapse.”
“You cannot police anybody to correction unless you actually tackle the root problem which is the value system. There has to be a paradigm shift.”
The LABCA boss added: “it is wrong for you to assume that because you are in investor in developing a building or any investment you have to do anything. You have to do everything within the law.”
For the boss of the state’s Urban and Physical Planning agency, a “change of attitude” is paramount to stop the illegal construction of houses as well as the resultant increase in building collapse.
Mr Osifuye, General Manager of the state’s agency complained bitterly about the consistency with which Developers return to sites to continue buildings even when they have been asked not to do, including building houses under High Tension wires.
“Let me tell you straight, those houses, check them, they don’t have permit,” Osifuye noted. “Lagosians are not helping themselves. What they just need is to change their attitude.”
The Urban and Physical Planning boss explained that getting the authentic Permits for building in Lagos only takes “30 working days” if all the documents are presented.
Meanwhile, the LABCA manager insists that the role of government should not be primarily about providing houses.
“In any sane clime or developed nation, government is not the sole provider of housing. Government is a facilitator and provides enabling environment,” Shodeinde noted.
According to the LABCA boss, “(the fact that) I am a businessman doesn’t mean I have to do it illegally. It now makes monitoring easy for government. Enforcement is what people believe we should be doing and enforcement is not a successful model.”
About 12 persons were reportedly injured in Wednesday’s building collapse at Fagba.