6th April, 2019
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
In the implementation of the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the collapsed 7-storey building in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Government has directed the State Attorney General to prosecute Sir Francis Allagoa, the owner of the collapsed building at Woji Road in New GRA in Port Harcourt.
The government also sacked the Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning.
The Rivers State Government also directed the State Attorney General to prosecute any person whose actions constituted criminality as established by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the collapsed 7-storey building.
Briefing journalists after the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Friday, Commissioner of Information and Communications, Emma Okah announced that the council accepted that it would be inappropriate to recall the Commissioner of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Dr Reason Onya who had been under suspension from the state cabinet because of the inappropriate actions he took and omissions he committed.
He said: “The Rivers State Government accepts that the owner of the building, Sir Francis J. Allagoa should bear all liability regarding compensation to families of the deceased persons and individual expenses of those injured.
“Sir Francis J. Allagoa is also to bear the cost and make good the damage done to the adjoining property owned by Mr Edna Ezekiel Hart”.
The Rivers State Government declared that in line with the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, it would comprehensively reform the procedures and processes relating to building approvals and actual construction of buildings to eliminate failure of buildings in the future.
The government added that the collapsed 7-Storey building was not covered by any approval and that the one obtained in July 2014 was for a four-five floor building.
“Government accepted to push for a reviewed law to punish any developer whose building collapses due to negligence or other acts resulting in deaths.”
The Rivers State Executive Council noted that 18 persons died while 22 others suffered various degrees of injuries.
The Rivers State Government directed the State Civil Service Commission to take disciplinary action against Town Planner Edmund Obinna, Director of Buildings and Plan Approvals because his actions fell short of expectations.
The Council also directed the Commission to take disciplinary action against Rev Dr. Mina Aprioku, Director of Development Control for professional deficiency.
The Attorney General of the State was directed to prosecute Engr Adeniyi Ibiyeye and Architect Timiebi Reuben for professional misconduct.
The Council also resolved to report Engr Ibiyeye to the Nigerian Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria for necessary disciplinary action.