By Uche Amunike
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has declared a three-day mourning period and flying of Nigerian flags at half mast, over the Ikoyi building collapse that occured in the state on Monday.
In a statement released by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho on Thursday, Sanwo-Olu declared three days of mourning over the Ikoyi building collapse which has claimed so far, 38 lives.
According to the statement, official engagements in both public and private establishments will be cancelled during the mourning period.
Sanwo-Olu has visited the site of the building collapse on three occasions to encourage close relations of those who are suspected to be trapped in the building and also the rescuers who have been doing all they can to see that they bring out the bodies trapped in the debris.
He has also visited the hospital to comfort those who were inflicted with injuries, even as he inaugurated a six-man Panel of Inquiry, to find out the reason why the building went down in the first place and also proffer measures to prevent such incidents from occuring in the future.
The Governor has also signed the instrument that legitimizes the composition of the panel and empowered them to invite or summon anyone or any organization that will be found useful for their investigation.
The members of the panel are completely selected from the private sector and have already taken their oaths.
The Oath-taking took place at the LASWA building at Falomo, Ikoyi and have been asked to commence work immediately and report back within 4 weeks from now.
The panel is headed by the President of Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, Mr Toyin Ayinde, while a lawyer in a private law firm, Mr Ekundayo Onajobi stands as secretary.
Other members are Dr Akintilo Idris Adeleke, a structural engineer; Yinka Ogundairo, an architect; Mr Godfrey O. Godfrey, a representative of Institute of Builders; and Mrs Bunmi Ibrahim, a real estate lawyer.
Sanwo-Olu described the event as a sad one for Lagos state, saying that was why he declared the Three-day mourning and flying of the Nigeria’s flags at half mast for the next 3 days.
He added that the public had a right to know what went wrong and why the building collapsed and stressed that even though the work of the panel will not bring back the lives lost, he believed that it will help to prevent a future occurrence of such tragedy.
He identified with affected families of victims trapped under the collapsed structure and expressed the belief that at the end of the investigation, the outcome would assuage their worries.
He maintained that the oath taken by the members of the panel gives them the right and adequate privileges of government powers, to carry out independent investigation without fear, favour, interference and restrictions and trust them to apply their expertise and professionalism in unraveling the unanswered questions surrounding the building collapse.
In response, Ayinde assured on behalf of the panel to discharge the duty expected of them with all sense of responsibility and ethics. He averred that they accept at their own liberty and with humility, the great task placed before them by the state and promised that they would carry out their duties with a sense of dedicated responsibility.
He also promised that they will be guided by professional standards with the help of charting a new course that will guarantee the safety of lives of Nigerian citizens.