By G9ija

FORMER Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, yesterday, urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State not to sweep the Ikoyi building collapse probe under the carpet, insisting that those responsible for the tragedy must face the law.

George, in his speech titled: ‘The Gerrard tragedy: In search of the truth’, also urged the governor to ensure the panel set up to probe the cause of the collapse must ensure fairness and justice, saying the Gerrard disaster was avoidable.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, he said: “The November 1st tragedy which brought down a 21-storey building on Gerrard Avenue in Ikoyi and perished scores of lives is probably the most devastating building collapse in the history of our state.

There are various issues that are quite worrisome about the incident. Indeed, the tragedy brought forward the patent inefficiency and perhaps even complicity of the Lagos State building regulatory authority. It demonstrates the obvious lacuna in the proficiency of the physical and urban planning codes.

“The Gerrard disaster was avoidable only if the tools of power had been sincere, honest and discerning in their obligations to the Lagosian people. But greed, indifference and deliberate complicity contributed to the tragedy.

“It is not enough to set up just any panel to probe the needless tragedy. We need comprehensive answers to all that appear presently veiled. The guilty must never be spared the full weight of the law. In this wise there is a need for a full competent team of technical and judicial officers to unravel this disaster.

“The panel must conduct its sittings in an open, unfettered forum to ensure probity and fairness. The panel must be truly independent with the powers to subpoena anyone no matter the position the person occupies in the society.

“The panel must not only be seen to be just and fair in its deliberations, it must show a total resolve on equity and justice. It must be composed of people of legendary excellence and high integrity.

“Let me submit that I strongly believe that to unravel the truth and ensure that the innocent did not perish in vain, the following are the possible lines of enquiries amid all kinds of innuendos and denials from many angles.

“The six-man committee hurriedly set up by the Lagos state government does not fit the billing. It is at best a gestural, patch up, calm them down affair. It will not work. It lacks the necessary tools of effectiveness that will bring answers to the festering questions that disturb us all.

“This is one disaster too many. It cannot be swept under the carpet. Those who compromised their offices and abetted this monumental loss of lives must face the full wrath of the law no matter their positions. It is only then that some kind of sanity will be brought to bear on the damaged profile of our increasingly distorted environment and that the innocent who perished in the tragic incident would not have died in vain.”