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Five rescued, four bodies recovered in Lagos building collapse  

By Bertram Nwannekanma, Gbenga Salau and  Eniola Daniel
23 May 2022   |   3:40 am
Three more bodies were, yesterday, recovered from the rubbles of the three-storey building, which collapsed under construction at Freeman Road, 4 Alayaki Lane, Lagos Island.

• Developer works at night, weekend despite stop work order, says LASEMA
• Project must not proceed without EIA report, says Govt

Three more bodies were, yesterday, recovered from the rubbles of the three-storey building, which collapsed under construction at Freeman Road, 4 Alayaki Lane, Lagos Island.

 
The recovery brought the total number of deaths to four, while  five people were rescued alive. According to Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), the building was in violation of building safety protocols.
   
The agency said it was discovered that the building had been captured by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) District Office and served with all statutory notices, sealed at the district and central enforcement levels.
   
It added that further investigation revealed that the developer had continued clandestine operations mostly at night and at the weekends.
 
After several hours of intense overnight search and rescue operation, coordinated by the Permanent Secretary (PS) LASEMA, Dr. Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu and combined efforts of three LASEMA Response Teams from Lekki, Cappa and the Alausa Command Control Centre (C3), a total of five adult males were rescued alive and taken to nearest hospitals for further treatment.
   
Oke-Osayintolu said: “Four adult males were recovered dead, bagged and handed over to officials of the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit, (SEHMU) to be processed further after being deposited at the mortuary.
   
The collapsed four-floor building has been taken down to ground zero by the agency with the use of its heavy-duty equipment-the excavator, thereby eliminating any further threat to lives and all other proximal properties.

MEANWHILE, the state has stated that henceforth, all individuals, public and private project owners / developers must subject all projects to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and obtain EIA approval on every project before implementation or face the full weight of the law.
 
Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, who disclosed this during a media parley,  said the time has come for all projects to be subjected to EIA in the conception stage because of the multifarious benefits.
   
He explained that  EIA is a formal process for identifying the likely impacts that may arise from a proposed activity of a project on the environment, human health and social economic activities.
 
Bello stressed that EIA helps in identifying the likely adverse and beneficial impacts of a project on the host environment and aims at putting in place measures to mitigate the negative effects.
   
“It is also a critical environmental management tool that must be embraced by both private and public sector in order to achieve sustainable development,” he said.
   
The commissioner explained that the establishment of industrial facilities, creation of new settlements, and construction of infrastructures come with huge adverse environmental impacts ranging from pollution of various environmental platforms to sometimes irreversible environmental degradation if not properly managed.

 
He said Lagos State over the years remains the preferred destination for many businesses operating within the various sectors of Nigeria’s economy, attributing the business- friendly policies to the ever-growing population of the state.
 
He explained that Lagos also provides a huge market for goods and services coupled with the doggedness of the administration to provide necessary infrastructures and an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
 
He said the preference can be likened to a two-sided coin as it comes with both benefits and challenges, stating that on one hand it opens the state to economic prosperity and growth while on the other, it comes with various types of environmental and social challenges.
 
Bello said it has, however, become worrisome that many projects are on-going in different parts of the State without consideration of EIA and EIA approval.
 
According to him, the action of project owners or developers is tantamount to undermining government’s efforts at protecting the environment and safeguarding public health.
 
He said globally, EIA  has become a decision-making tool to  protect  the  environment and Lagos State cannot be an exception.He said government has, therefore, adopted the application of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process in ensuring sustainable implementation of development projects in the state in line with global best practices.