Lagos real estate boss held over fatal building collapse

2016-03-14 19:20
Police officers, rescue workers and onlookers gather near the site of a building under construction which collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Police officers, rescue workers and onlookers gather near the site of a building under construction which collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

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Lagos - The head of a real estate firm in Nigeria's biggest city has been detained after 34 people were killed when an under-construction building collapsed, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

"A magistrate court in Ebute Meta [central Lagos] on Friday ordered that the chief executive officer of Lekki Gardens, Richard Nyong, be remanded in police custody for 30 days," Steve Agbiboa told AFP.

Nyong is being held at a police station with the building contractor, Taiwo Odofin, for 30 days pending completion of the investigation, he added.

The fatal collapse happened after heavy rains early last Tuesday in the upmarket Lekki area of Lagos, which is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the city.

The Lagos State government said preliminary reports indicated work on the building was illegal and the contractors allegedly contravened the law by exceeding the approved floors.

Work was restarted despite the building being sealed in what the government called "a brazen act of defiance and impunity".

Nyong and Odofin's arrests contrasts a similar case involving the popular evangelical preacher TB Joshua in which a guest house for his foreign followers collapsed in September 2014, killing 116.

A coroner ruled the building at Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos collapsed because additional floors were being added and proper planning permission had not been approved.

Joshua, church trustees and two engineers are currently on trial for criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter.

But Joshua, who counts politicians from Nigeria and across Africa among his flock, has neither been arrested nor has shown up in court to give evidence, despite being summonsed several times.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa

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