The site of the collapsed building at the Synagogue Church, Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos.

Police barracks may be the scene of next building collapse’

General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun-Odunayo, in this interview, speaks on the recent collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, the intricacies surrounding it, the next line of action by the state government, among others. Excerpts:

What actually went wrong with the SCOAN collapsed building?
We need support from stakeholders and everyone. Before now, we have been trying to curtail incidence of collapse building until we had the latest one. I think the problem of Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, brought the issue to the fore again. A lot of institutions are too secretive they will not allow government officials do their job properly. They believed that if you are not a member, you cannot have access to their premises.

Perhaps, what happened in Synagogue would not have happened if they had allowed government officials do their job. What Synagogue needs to know is that the place is no more in their purview, everything now belongs to government because that’s what the law stipulates. Anytime our officials went there they were prevented.

We could not gain access. I believe we need to sensitize public institutions more, so that when an incident happens they give way to rescue team and government officials otherwise there will be issues like this in future. We will not allow this anymore because the law has given us the power to carry out our work effectively and efficiently.

We have a task force, but on that fateful Friday, church staff did not allow us to in to have access to the collapsed site until then Rapid Response Squad, RRS, came to our aid. People should allow us access to do our job without fear. We have had issues where we were beaten, harassed and molested in the course of doing our duties, it should stop.

They fail to realize that the function of our agency is to save lives, reduce incidence of building collapse to zero. If people are not allowing us to do our job we cannot save lives. I think we need to increase the number of our taskforce men to enhance our work.

In the Synagogue incident, was your agency not carried along in the building process and do they have necessary approval?
We are still investigating. As I said earlier, we asked them about the approval papers, but the representatives of the church said the approval papers had been burie4d in the rubble. So we are still waiting for them to present the papers.

Yet, the fact is that the building in question was initially a two-storey building before they added four raising it to six. They could not have done that without having competent people overseeing the building. If a raft foundation was done to carry out two-storey building, what did they do to fortify the strength of that foundation to carry out six-storey building.? This is the question we are asking them. Investigation is on-going; until we finish the investigation, we won’t be able to do much. We are just waiting for the result.

Lagos State Material Testing, current registered institutions, NIA and other professionals are all involved in the investigation. We will do the test to unravel the cause of the collapse. Even though, they said it was due to aircraft, we have a lot of houses that planes fly over. everyday and they are not collapsing, so why this particular one, we have to conduct a thorough investigation.

On the seeming reluctance of the state government to place immediate sanction as it is usually the case.
The state government is not reluctant. The fact is that the place is not a plot of land, it is a compound. We cannot go ahead and seal the whole place, the site is an open space. We can’t seal for now, because the law says when such an incident happens, the first thing to do is to evacuate victims into safety after which we have to cordon off the place and take charge. But unfortunately that land has other plans.

And also because of the aircraft theory, we have to investigate. Aviation experts are involved. We have to sort things out before taking action. The Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, 2010 is there. We need to follow the law. So we are leaving everything till investigation is concluded which I believe will come very soon. But, I can assure you appropriate action will be taken.

Similar challenges in the course of duty.
We have several nasty cases. There are places where our staff were beaten up and prevented from doing their work sometimes by people using guns. We have cases of barracks where buildings are in distressed and dilapidated state. When we go for inspection, they harass us and chase us away with guns. I think the Federal Governments and the governor need to do something about them fast before they start falling down one after the other

Because as long as a building is within Lagos State, the governor has the power, under the 2014 Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, to challenge and enforce the law.

Particularly, the Federal Government should do something now about the distressed buildings in police barracks, most especially the ones in Ikeja, Iponri, Ojuelegba, Obalende areas, all those barracks are not in good condition. There is need for immediate intervention to prevent avoidable loss of lives.

Like the ones in Iponri and Ikeja, we have compiled our reports and sent to the authorities and I am sure the state is working in collaboration with the FG because we will not allow any loss of life because of negligence and stubbornness.

We will not wait for the magnitude of destruction of lives and property like that of SCOAN to happen in Lagos before something is done.

We plan to reduce the incidence of building collapse in this state to zero tolerance. Incidence of building collapse will stop in the country if Nigerians imbibe the culture of adhering to building laws, rules and regulations.

We implore Lagosians to help us to help them, to save lives because if you say it doesn’t concern you, you may have relatives, family members friends in the collapsed building. We don’t want anyone to lose his or her life and that’s why we are around. After the SCOAN incident, people have been coming forward to tell us of other noticed distressed buildings.

How building standard is measured in the state.
Soil test must be determined. The soil on the Island is not the same as the one on the Mainland. Depending on the soil investigation, we can determine the kind of foundation required. The foundation will always determine the type of building whether bungalow, duplex, high-rise, among others. LASBCA always gets involved in any building from the soil investigation; when you have this, we give you one or two options.

It is now left to you to make a choice. And when we approve what the person intends to do, we follow-up right from the foundation to the level of construction so that we can do the stage inspection and certification to ensure that the developer is building right, that is, to make sure the building is up to the standard specification and building code and according to the law after which he can proceed to the necessary things: the wall, the blocks and materials are of good quality. At end of the day, we look at drainage, plumbing, electricity, fire safety and then the roofing.




The suspected ‘one-chance’ robbers

Police arrest commercial drivers for ‘one-chance’ robberies

The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Adeniji Adele, Lagos, has arrested a gang of robbers who operate in Lagos and neighbouring states under the guise of working as commercial drivers.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspects ─ Suleiman Ibrahim, Kayode Orelope, Kehinde Fatai and Afeez Olatunde ─ were arrested by the FSARS operatives from their respective hideouts in Mushin, Iyana Ipaja, Igando in Lagos and Ijoko, Ogun State after a tip-off.

According to the police, the gang made use of commercial buses and operated by picking unsuspecting passengers and robbing them while in motion ─ a method popularly referred to as one-chance.

Our correspondent learnt that after Ibrahim, who is said to be the gang leader, was arrested in July 9, he confessed to the crime, and led the police to the hideouts of other members.

Speaking with PUNCH Metro, 36-year-old Ibrahim who hails from Awori, Lagos, explained that in one-chance operation, his gang members would be positioned at strategic bus stops and would also come into the bus as passengers to make their victims unsuspicious.

He said, “We don’t go out until around 9pm. I was a commercial driver and I was plying the Oshodi and Mushin areas. I have been in the one-chance robbery for about 10 years, and we were able to escape police arrest on several occasions.

“When we go out for an operation, I usually drive while another gang member will stand at the door. Some of our guys will also be at some bus stops.

“When our bus is full, we then drive to an isolated point, and rob all of them.

“We collect money, jewellery, gold, phones and other valuables. We drop them at areas that we know will be hard for them to get another bus, thereby preventing them from calling the police.

“We made an average of N50,000 from each outing. Although we were rough, we never molested any woman during operation.”

Ibrahim, father of three, who lives on Musibau Street, Ajangbadi, said he joined the gang after being lured by a friend he identified simply as Ganiyu.

Olatunde told our correspondent that the gang made use of car jacks , not guns, to frighten their passengers.

He said, “We did not have guns, but we were many and we had objects like car jack to deal with any stubborn victim. The jack actually looks like a gun, and then in the dark, no passenger wants to risk finding out if the gun is real or not.”

Thirty-two-year-old Fatai from Oyo State said he saw Ibrahim as a rich man because he spent lavishly, adding that it enticed him to join the gang.

He said, “I was not only a commercial driver, I was also a union executive in Mile 2 area. The times I went out with the gang, we robbed at the Oshodi and Obalende areas.

“Ibrahim lured me to join them. The highest amount I made was N32,000.”

In his own confession, Orelope, 40, who hails from Oyo State, said he was also invited into the gang by Ibrahim as they both plied the same routes.

Our correspondent learnt that the DCP Chris Ezike-led FSARS were still investigating the robbery.

The police said they would charge the suspects to court after investigations were over.

Copyright PUNCH.


1. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American who was seen in Liberia as very ill brought full-blown Ebola infection to Nigeria and died 4 days later leaving a trail of havoc right from the airport.
2. He infected a non-Nigerian ECOWAS protocol officer at the airport who later died too.
3. From the ambulance to Obalende and at the hospital Patrick Sawyer deliberately infected 10 Nigerian primary health carers including Dr Mrs Adadevoh who eventually gave up the ghost yesterday. But Nigerians are praising late Mrs Adadevoh for ensuring Sawyer COULD NOT ESCAPE from the hospital!
4. Other Nigerians who died were two nurses who had direct contact with Patrick Sawyer. This means only 3 Nigerians have died UP TO DATE and all because of direct contact with the mad man as Patrick Sawyer was labeled by President Jonathan.
5. Of the remaining 7 Nigerians confirmed infected 5 have been certified cured and released from the hospital and 2 are in quarantine.
6. Many secondary contacts were also put under observation but so far none has been infected. Some of these have been tested and statutorily released
7. If the 2 remaining carers survive as we hope Nigeria would have set a record on Ebola eradication without sch-napp or is it z-mapp from Obama?
8. US.praises Nigeria for a job well done.
9. Nigerians thank Mrs Adadevor while rejecting Obama’s praise.

I.Patrick Sawyer murdered my 1st cousin tonight. Ameyo, I am speechless. After the last few weeks of prayers and holding on to hope that you will pull through, you did not come out of your unconscious state. You were so nice, easy going, simple and humble and you played the big sister as the eldest of all the 1st cousins on mummy’s side. I will not forget the role you played at my wedding where you stood in as my mum (representing my late mum). That you were named Stella in memory of my mum was not surprising cause you were similar in nature. You (as the lead consultant) and your team prevented generations of Nigerians from contracting the Ebola virus by insisting Patrick Sawyer did not live the hospital. It shows you died so that other Nigerians may live. What could be more Christ like than this? It goes without saying that by default you are a national hero. God knows best why he allowed you to go (1) at this time and (2) in this horrible way cause I am speechless , lost for words. AMEYO rest in perfect peace till we meet to part no more and may God grant your mum and siblings the grace to carry on especially mummy.

ii…She is survived by her son and husband. May her soul rest in perfect peace.

iii…Rip doctor…. You died in active service to save life of humanity….May God give your family fortitude to bear the loss.

iv…I think the Liberian government should pay her family for damages sawyer the mad man has caused these innocent Nigerian family.

v…Now des ar d kind of pple dat deserve national awards, not politicians…Lemme use dis medium to also challenge all dos hungry men/ murderers parading demsefs as medical doctors, embarkin on strikes, to take example from dis Dr, life isn’t always abt money n dats were Nigerians have scores it wrong, everybody is fightin for dia pocket/ money, no body is even fighting for glory talkless of fighting for humanity.D fed govt shud tap into dis tragedy n encourage Nigerians to be patriotic.

Vi…Quick question: do you think she would still have treated him – u know, out of “patriotism” – if she had the slightest premonition that it would cost her her life and cause eternal emotional scarring of her husband and little kid?
And I’d like to believe that Private Hospitals such as the one she worked in, are more interested in PROFIT than PATRIOTISM. Cuz the latter isn’t going to pay the bills.
Hint: I guess we’ll never truly know….

Vii…Dude,she stopped Sawyer from leaving the hospital for Calabar which was his original destination, that is where the patriotism comes in, must you allow emotions to becloud your thinking?,this is a daughter of an esteemed professor of chemical pathology and great grand daughter of Herbert Macaulay that Nigeria failed at her hour of need,if Nigeria moved the heavens for her it would have been worth it, yet the same Nigeria wants doctors on the frontline without any protection

Viii…RIP DOC, hope you made peace with God…as for the bastard Sawyer, I know where ever you are, you are already paying for your misdeeds

ix…So sad…Such a pretty woman dying in her prime…Nigeria has been paying dearly for her ungrateful West African neighbours…If our soldiers are not dying in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali, we are expending scarce resources in bailing out some banana republics in the sub-region…And now they are exporting pandemics to our shores…Is there a better time to review our policy on the so-called regional integration than now?

x…You died a heroine, sacrificed your life for the life of another, what greater love is there than this… Never knew or met you, just a picture of you graced our eyes, everything about you sincerely felt special.I pray your generation accomplish greater than you did and didnt do.I hope God will bless a true hero on her entry to eternity, a woman not merely saying “God bless you” but was a blessing. Forever engraved in our History Dr Ameyo Adadevoh

xi…This is why AMERICA WILL CONTINUE TO BE HATED by many countries.A timely release of zmapp or whatever the name is would have saved this innocent lady.This same trial drugs was used for three Americans but to send it to Nigeria,they gave crazy excuses.I feel like using some unethical words on Obama but let me jut keep mum.
xii…The best time to know your true friends is when you are in need or in trouble. When we needed the zmapp most they refused to give us the drug but were busy giving oder countries the drug. Sabi they were forming for us with there zmapp now that about 5 people were cured without there useless zmapp they are busy commending us to hell with them and their zmapp.

comments extracted from Nairaland