The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, and the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Ikeja Cell, are advocating for the prosecution of those responsible for building collapses in the country.
The two organizations held an advocacy programme on the theme “Building Collapse and Application of Punitive Laws in Lagos State” on October 26, 2023.
Speaking at the event, Human Rights Lawyer Mr Femi Falana called on lawyers and builders to work together to prosecute individuals who violate building codes. He also urged the Lagos State Government to publish the final reports of all panels of inquiries into building collapses in the state.
“In any building collapse in Lagos, lawyers are going to work with builders to bring perpetrators to justice,” Falana said.
He blamed builders for allowing unqualified individuals to take over their jobs, saying the former have been too relaxed.
“Many people putting up structures are not qualified. What are the builders doing? By law, you can’t practise law in Nigeria if you are not licenced. The building industry has its laws as well,” he said.
The Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lawal Pedro, outlined the state government’s efforts to prevent building collapses. He assured that the state government would collaborate with the NBA, Ikeja Branch, to make the regulations guiding building development in the state widely known.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Olatunji Odunlami, called on the Lagos State Government to engage the members of BCPG in monitoring buildings under construction all over the state to prevent building collapses.
He mentioned that the government lacks the required manpower to monitor all building sites in the state.
The Chairman of NBA Ikeja Branch, Mr Seyi Olawumi, said the advocacy programme is essential to curbing the incessant building collapses in Lagos State.
“The frequency of building collapses in Lagos State is deeply troubling, resulting in the loss of lives, property, and economic resources,” Olawumi said.
He partly attributed building collapses to the government’s lack of political will to enforce the laws as a deterrent.
Ikeja Local Government Cell Coordinator, BCPG, Alhaja Zulaiha Bolarinwa, said that despite several efforts by the Guild, building collapses have continued to occur at an alarming rate, hence the need to ensure that laws are enforced.
She stated that the advocacy was targeted at enforcers and other stakeholders to address the root causes of building collapses and impunity.
“The professionals are here and ready to work as a team to make building collapses a thing of the past,” Bolarinwa said.
The two organizations are calling on the government to take the following steps to prevent building collapses and prosecute those responsible:
“Enforce the laws guiding building development in the state.
“Engage the members of BCPG in monitoring buildings under construction all over the state.
“Publish the final reports of all panels of inquiries into building collapses in the state.
“Prosecute individuals who violate building codes.
Source: The Nation Newspaper