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Synagogue Tragedy Can’t Be Swept Under Carpet-Fashola

Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola says the state will not sweep under the carpet the building collapse tragedy at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in which over 100 people died.

The governor said the matter would be investigated and that nothing would be hidden at the end of the day as government would not compromise standard.

Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola

Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola

Speaking in Ikeja, Lagos, when he received the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, Fashola said the collapse of the structure was a tragedy that could not be allowed to pass away without thorough investigation being instituted into the matters.

“The collapsed building at Synagogue is rather unfortunate. But I think we must understand that our government has repeatedly said we will investigate it. We will definitely do so. Last week, the Attorney-General empanelled the Coroner’s Court because that is the appropriate machinery of the government to undertake this kind of investigation, especially when people die in such tragic or unnatural circumstances.

“I think we should just allow that process to go on.  I think the investigation will be held if we refrain from any comment about this incident. This is the way that every civilised society proceed and we must assume that all the necessary provisions of law will be complied with.

“That is our track record here and nothing less will happen in this case. That is the minimum every government must do. People must understand that when accidents like this happen, there are many stages to it. Perhaps, we have got used to what was an inappropriate conduct to get to crime and accident to pronounce this is what has happened before the investigation has concluded. We are professionals. We are not trained like that.

“If people are not used to our methods, they must get used to it because that is the way we are going to act. We are going to act methodically. We are going to act in civilised manner. We are not going to, without evidence, say this person has done wrong. Investigations are always painstaking and scientific processes. We have shown our capacity to do this,” he stated.

According  to Fashola, “When accidents like that happen, so many stages are involved. First, there is a rescue stage, where everything that matters is how we can save one life. After that, there is a recovery stage, where we live with the reality that no life can be saved any more.  And then, we recover and protect the site and all the materials that can be gathered from there.

“It is from the recovery stage that the investigation stage follows. This is about what did we get out of the site. When I heard this number of people, I asked questions: are they the ones in charge of mortuaries? How can you pronounce a person dead without a medical officer saying so? So, some of the people we took away from the accident scenes, who are in coma and who are in shock, people count them as dead people.

“This kind of behaviour must stop. Unless there is anybody keeping dead bodies in his house and private hospital, we are the regulators and all those bodies come to our mortuaries. So, we must account for them as we will. I understand the public interest in this, but we must act methodically. All the materials that are required for the investigation will be referred to the coroner. That is what we talked about this morning really. I did not see it a real town planning issue. It is a building control matter.”

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