Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been linked to the collapsed uncompleted 21-storey building in Lagos State.
On Monday, the building located on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos collapsed with a yet-to-be-ascertained number of persons still trapped beneath the rubble.
SaharaReporters earlier reported on Thursday that no fewer than 36 persons have been confirmed dead at the site of the collapsed 21-storey building.
The rescue and emergency personnel have evacuated nine persons alive from the debris of the fallen building.
The survivors comprised eight males and one female, while the fatalities had three females and 33 males.
Different sources on Tuesday told SaharaReporters that the landed property was bought by Osinbajo from Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, founder of Elizade Motors (Elizade Nigeria Limited) shortly after he became the Vice President.
“Osinbajo is linked to the property, that house that collapsed on Monday in Lagos State. I was aware when he got the landed property from Elizade. A woman was selling food at the place before, that was where all workers and labourers working around here do eat,” a facility manager told SaharaReporters.
“The Vice President has a lot of properties in the area, he is using his brother to manage the properties. The developer, Femi Osibona is only fronting for him. Osinbajo even bought another property for his brother in the area, it’s at Mosley Street. The brother is the one managing it personally, he comes there almost every time.
“If the Lagos State Government is serious, they should tell us who owns the land.”
The developer’s brother, Lanre Osibona was Senior Special Assistant to the President on ICT from May 2015 to December 2019.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, another source said, “I know the land was bought by the Vice President from Elizade. I can’t really say maybe he sold it to Osibona. I know when the land was bought. That’s where we do eat.”
“I know he owns the land, what are you expecting, so you expect a whole Vice President to put his name in such project. He can never put his name, Femi Osibona, Fourscore Managing Director is only a front in this project. The Vice President wanted the project to finish before 2023,” another source told SaharaReporters.
A staff member of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) told SaharaReporters that there ‘was an order from above’ not to visit the building during monitoring.
He wondered why the General Manager of the agency, Gbolahan Oki, was suspended and the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako not punished.
“Why the GM? The man that just assumed office, what about the commissioner that passes through the road everyday on his paper tiger monitoring? Let the governor suspend him and his PS as well,” he said.
“I know the building is owned by a top government official, the man in question, Osibona was only fronting for that government official. We received an order from above to stop going to the site during monitoring. I heard the Vice President intervened when the project was sealed off early in the year but I can’t say maybe he is the owner. Don’t forget they are both from Ikenne in Ogun State.”
According to Highbrow Living Magazine, the collapsed property, comprising four-bedroom maisonettes, flats, duplex and penthouses, was 65 percent sold out.
The price range for the apartment is also said to be between $1.2 million and $5 million.
“The 20-floor strictly residential facility is the brain works of Fourscore Homes, evolving from a desire to build an original masterpiece. The concept is to have service flats in the three towers for residents to experience a stress-free lifestyle, complete with a hotel flair with a 360-degree view of Lagos state,” the magazine reads.
The structure was said to be 80 percent completed and was billed to be concluded in 2022.
In an interview with THISDAY, Osibona had said the project was supposed to be the first of its kind in Nigeria.
“This development will give peace of mind and comfort to the residents, because everything works,” he had said.
“We have exhibited our expertise in property development in the United Kingdom, South Africa, the United States of America and Nigeria. Fourscore Homes possesses uncommon capabilities in redefining property development in any market we choose to play in.
“I was one of the people whose real estate developments led to the growth of East London. I bought a house on New Cross Road and renovated it. I also bought a piece of land behind it and built two flats there, and that is what I will call my first real estate project. That was how I started building houses for sale.”
Despite initial denial, SaharaReporters gathered that the Lagos State Government only approved the construction of 15 storeys for the collapsed building.
There have been controversies over the actual structure approved for construction after the building collapsed on Monday, leaving at least 22 people dead.
On Monday, Oki, the suspended general manager of LASBCA had claimed that the government approved 15 floors for the 21-storey building.
“He got approval for a 15-storey building and he exceeded his limit. I am on the ground here and the materials he used are so inferior and terrible,” Oki had said.
But addressing journalists at the site of the collapsed building on Tuesday, Obafemi Hamzat, the Deputy Governor, said the owner of the building got approval for 21 floors.
He had said, “This particular one was approved for 21 floors, not 15. If you count, the second building was 14 or 15. The approval was done about three years ago, it is not something new, it is the construction that failed apparently from what we can see.”
Hamzat also confirmed the earlier sealing of the building by the state government over poor construction.
He had added: “It was sealed from June. It was sealed because the agency came in to do a structural test, they saw some abnormalities, so they shut it down for those things to be corrected.
“They were taking corrective actions when this (collapse) happened.”
In a document, obtained by SaharaReporters, however, it was revealed that only 15 floors were actually approved for the project.
The Development Permit, dated April 2019, was approved by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) on 09/04/2019.
It reads partly, “For Fourscore Height Limited, 44 B,C,D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi. Permission under the provisions of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010 Physical Development Regulations to erect a residential 15 floors building at 44 B, C, D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi (West).”
It further said, “(a) The Planning Permit granted shall become invalid where development has (2) years of the grant of such permit unless the permit is revalidated by the Authority.
“(b) Every developer shall, on the procurement of his permit proceed to Lagos State Building Control Agency, to give notice of his or her intention to commence Development at Oba Akinjobi Way, Old Secretariat, GRA, Ikeja.
“(c) The Subject site shall be clearly demarcated in accordance with the site plan and be made ready for Development. (d) The developer must complete Form C at all stages of construction and submit the same to Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).
“(e) Non Compliance with the approved planning permit as designed will void the permit, and the development will be regarded as illegal.
“(f) The Developer shall engage the services of relevant registered professionals in the construction and supervision of the building, and submit the particulars of the professionals to LABSCA. (g) A developer of any building above two (2) floors shall insure his/her liability in respect of construction risks and submit a Certified True Copy (C.T.C) of such Insurance Policy Certification with his/her Development Permit to LASBCA
“(h) The owner of the building shall not occupy or permit same to be occupied before obtaining a certificate of fitness for habitation from Lagos State Building Control Agency stating that the building is fit for human habitation.
“(1) Other conditions (please see attached document).
“Failure to comply with any of the above conditions shall attract necessary sanctions on the building in line with the provisions of the extant law.”