A Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere on Monday heard how the collapsed Lekki Gardens which claimed the lives of 30 people had no official building permit.
Revealing this on Monday, Maruis Agwu, prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd Richard Nyong, told the court that the five storey building with two bedroom flats, known as Horizon located at Elegushi that collapsed on March 8, 2016, had no building approval.
Agwu an Architect who was being led in evidence by the director of Public Prosecution DPP, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey said that the initial plan of the building was three storey building, but that Nyong later told him of his intention to increase the building from three storey to five floors because of the high demand of subscribers.
Nyong is standing trial alongside Lekki Gardens Estate Limited and Get Rich Investment Limited known as Horizon 1 Extension, House H15, Mr Sola Olumofe; the firm’s contractor, Odofin Henry Taiwo; Omolabake Mortunde, Omotilewa Oluwatosin Joseph, Lekki Gardens, and HC Insight Solution Limited.
They were arraigned on a six count charge bordering on failure to obtain building approval for the collapsed building and involuntary manslaughter, where they pleaded not guilty.
Agwu who was testifying before Justice Sybil Nwaka said that when he discovered the defect on the collapsed building which was brought to their notice by madam Omolabake Mortunde, he drew the Lekki Gardens Managing Director attension to the building and he said he was going to do something about it but he never did.
The witness stated that he knew Nyong in 2011 and they became close friends, after introducing himself to him as a developer and he in turn introduced himself as an architect, adding that the first defendant later told him of a project in Lekki and asked if he would be able to provide him architectural design services and after showing him portfolios of the designs he has done,Nyong was convinced and then gave him a brief to design for him.
“I designed Lekki Gardens phase 1,project in Ajah, it is a development of four to three bedroom flats, it is a mixed development and service plot which is residential, the people that bought the service plot built duplex, he said.
However, while being cross examined by the counsel to the first, sixth and seventh defendants Wole Olanipekun SAN, the witness admitted that he was not a registered architect, he also said that he did not sign and seal the design of the collapsed building, but that the company did not direct him not to sign and seal the design.
While being cross examined he admitted to have been a sixth defendant between May 24 and June 14, 2017, when they were first brought to court.
The case was adjourned till December 14, for continuation of cross examination.