NIWA tackles Lagos govt over Banana Island building collapse
•Says Sanwo-Olu’s Statement Misrepresents Actual Cause Of Incident
•Orders Suspension Of Reclamation Activities
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has condemned the Lagos State government’s statement blaming the authority for the collapsed building in Banana Island and the subsequent demolition of 20 buildings on the orders of the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
NIWA, while reacting to the allegations by the Lagos State Government that it was partly responsible for the incident, said the information were false, baseless and a misrepresentation of the issues that led to the incident with intent of misleading members of the public regarding what had actually happened.
This was contained in a rejoinder, yesterday, by the General Manager Corporate Affairs of NIWA, Jibril Darda’u, on the news publication entitled: “Sanwo-Olu orders demolition of 20 buildings in Banana Island.”
NIWA expressed displeasure at the state governor’s statement, alleging officials of the authority to be reckless in the manner they issue permits without regard to the topography of the area.
The governor also claimed that all of the four buildings at the back did not get the state government’s approval, describing it as ‘real illegality.’
But NIWA pointed that the state governor claimed that the site of the collapsed building was not originally part of the Island’s plan, but agreed that it state government is responsible for building approval.
NIWA said the governor’s statement was clear that building permits were within the jurisdiction of state governments.
The authority noted that where such permit are illegally obtained, such faults or omission can only be attributed to the state government that issued them and not the Federal Government or any of Its agencies as in the instant case.
The water body authority said it was established by NIWA Act CAP N47 LFN 2004, with no provision in the said Act where it is mandated by law to Issue building permits/approvals and Certificate of Occupancy.
NIWA said it only issues permits for “Use of Right of Way” activities within the waterways and reclamation.
The authority said, with the above mandate, it never granted any license or permit in respect of the site where the collapse occurred.
According to the authority, investigations carried out shows that the collapsed building was constructed on lines 15 and 16 of the original plan of Banana Island and not on any subsequent extensions.
The authority noted that the responsibility to inspect every stage of building construction remains that of Lagos State Government and her officials.
The authority added that where there are failures in the performance of such duties, the blame should not be transferred to the Federal Government’s agency.
NIWA, however, disclosed, that its Managing Director, Dr George Moghalu, has visited the site of the incident and ordered the immediate suspension of all reclamation activities within the Island, pending the conclusion of the investigation ordered by the Lagos State Government.
The rejoinder reads: “The attention of the NIWA has been drawn to a misleading report that has gone viral in the social media and was published April, 23 2023. The report carried a distorted account of what transpired over the collapsed building In Banana Island.
“In the said publication, the Lagos State Governor was quoted to have accused NIWA of being culpable in the incident of building collapse on the highbrow Banana Island.
“The information contained in the publication are false, baseless and a misrepresentation of the issues that led to the collapse of the building in Banana Island with intent of misleading members of the public regarding what had actually happened.”
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