After Friday's tragic collapse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) building at Ikotun, Lagos, officials of the Lagos State Government have said the building did not have approval for additional structures.
When the horrid collapse occurred on Friday, 17 people were reported to have lost their lives, but officials have confirmed the loss of 45 innocent souls in the collapse.
As rescue continues, it is said that many might still be underneath the rubble.
The church has officially declined to comment on the number of dead and insisting no one died in the collapse.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, paid a visit to the scene yesterday and has demanded for a total inquiry into the mysterious collapse.
However, Government officials have said that they did not give the Synagogue Church of All Nations approval to add additional structures on top of the original plan.
Part of Fashola's entourage to the scene, Commissioner for Physical Planning Olutoyin Ayinde demanded that the church's engineers have been asked to present their permit to add additional structures on top of the collapsed building.
He said: “Our meeting with the prophet was a closed-door meeting but it surrounds the collapsed building. It is a sad situation; lives have been lost and many others have been rescued.
“We use this opportunity to express our sympathy to the affected people. We have no proof that the church had permit to add to the existing structure. We have asked the engineering team to meet us and for about two hours now, no member of the team has come.
“We also have questions for them. Even if the building does not have approval, it ought to be built professionally. We have asked for their team and we hope in the course of the week, they would get to us.
“It is necessary to take the final inventory before we can say the number of people affected. Right now, we do not know how many people are involved. When a final inventory has been taken, the ministry of special duties will take a decision as regards relieve,” he said.
When asked if the Lagos State Government had already made plans to seal the surrounding premise, Ayinde said: “There are no plans for that yet until investigation as to the cause of the collapse has been concluded.
“I have said I have no proof of a permit. Maybe they have one and are yet to show us. We will give them the opportunity to defend themselves and action can only be taken after investigation has been concluded.”
Also Lagos State Building Control Agency, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun revealed that the church had no approval.
She said: “We have investigated and found that they had no approval for the additional structures. Even the main church, which they have added about three floors on, was sealed two days ago, but it is now open.
”You cannot have an existing building and start putting up more buildings on it. Before you can do anything like that, you must confirm that the structure is still stable and can stand additional buildings.”
According to the Nation, the collapsed building had only been approved to have only three storeys, but engineers had added an extra three storeys and due to this, the building has been vibrating for some time now.
It is said that over 200 people who were in the building most of these individuals eat in the basement while labor workers were on the sixth floor.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Red Cross, medical personnel from the state and federal governments and Lagos State Building Inspection Agency are still at the site and working on the rescue mission.
Laborers on the sixth floor were said to be cutting rods, planning on making another floor.
The officials have rescued already about 130 people alive and 44 dead from the sixth floor and the basement, both floors are the only areas the workers have been able to access.
NEMA’s Southwest spokesman, Ibrahim Farinloye said: “We were able to work overnight and so, as at now (6pm), we have 130 rescued alive and 44 dead. Nobody can say what caused the collapse. But from the footage shown to me, where all the foundation of the building was shaking before it caved in, it could have been caused by the additional structure.
“Investigations will confirm what really happened. You can see that some of the beams and blocks are still intact. So, some of the permutations cannot be ruled out.
“We are working on worst case scenario that the foundation might have been weakened, which would have led to the collapse.”
A guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church in Ikotun, Lagos had collapsed last Friday, September 12, 2014.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed the death of 45 people after the building collapsed.