Ikoyi collapsed building : Family wants to bury victim in UK as judge threatens arrest
Marking building an invitation to negotiate, Falana alleges
Family members of Samuel Iwelu, one of the victims of the collapsed 21-storey building, at Ikoyi area of Lagos State, have asked for his body to be released to them to be buried in the United Kingdom.
The family made the request yesterday through its counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, at the Coroner’s Inquest sitting in Ikeja on the collapsed Ikoyi building.
Responding, a representative of the Lagos State Government, Akin George of the Ministry of Justice, said: “The government set up a committee to look into the possibility of releasing identifiable bodies and we were involved for two weeks at the morgue. Some families came on a particular day and two families were able to identify bodies; a father only identified his son by the toe on the left leg.
“The delay is caused by the state of decomposition of all the bodies, and the mortician advised that all the bodies should be subjected to a DNA test and some families’ representatives, especially the Iwelu family provided samples and the Forensic gave assurance that the results would be out in two weeks. So, I want to plead that the family should hold on to allow the DNA processes to be completed.
“I promise that all the government agencies listed will be available in the next hearing.”
On his part, Falana said: “This is the first time we are having this kind of explanation, the government has not taken this step to contact the family.
“Not just COREN, all building professionals must be invited because many of them have issued statements, which are like crying after the head is off. They told the whole world that the building was originally meant to be six floors, it increased to 12, then 15 and eventually 21, such a professional body that issued such a statement should be asked to come forward to throw light into what had happened, so that we can prevent such a tragedy in future.”
MEANWHILE, the presiding judge, Komolafe Alexandra, has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on anyone, who fails to appear before the court after invitation.
He also said all the professional bodies must jointly visit the site on Friday, before adjourning till Monday, December 6 for next hearing.