The Lagos State Building Control Authority (LASBCA) has told an Ikeja Coroner’s Court that the late Femi Osibona, Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Limited, prevented its officers from accessing the construction site of the collapsed 21-storey building. According to reports by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Oluseun Randle, an Assistant Director in charge of the Inspectorate of Quality Control of LASBCA, appeared before the panel on Friday.
The building collapsed on November 1, 2021, killing over 40 people including the owner of the building, Osibona. She said she was the officer overseeing Eti-Osa, Victoria, Island, Surulere, Yaba, Lagos Mainland and Ikoyi, the area where the collapsed 21-storey building was located.
The witness noted that one of the duties of LABSCA was the identification and possible removal of non-conforming structures in Lagos. Randle made the revelation while being cross-examined by Ola Adeosun, the counsel to Prowess Engineering Nigeria Limited, the structural engineering consultant to Osibona, who withdrew its services over a dispute on how the project was structurally executed. The witness said LASBCA had visited the site of the building collapse to check the level of compliance on three occasions. “An officer first visited on February 13, 2019, he peered through a small opening in the gate and observed piling equipment. “He moved closer to observe the piling operation and to gain access to the premises. The security operatives manning the premises did not allow him entry.
“He was only asked to wait outside of the gate for the developer (Osibona). After some minutes, the developer came and the officer told him he wanted to serve a notice. “He (Osibona) told him that he could not go in and if tried to forcefully gain entry he would tell the security to release dogs. “The monitoring officer served a Contravention Notice and Stop Work Order dated February 13, 2019, on the structure. The notice and order was to be complied with within 48-hours,” she said. The witness said the LASBCA officer returned to the site for the second time on February 21, 2019, and pasted a Seal Up Notice on the fence and left. On the second visit, she said the monitoring officer did not observe any construction work on the site except for the locked gate.