Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has directed the State Attorney General to prosecute Sir Francis Allagoa, the owner of the seven-storey building that collapsed at Woji Road in New GRA in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The governor also ordered the prosecution of any person whose actions constituted criminality as established by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the incident.
The Commissioner of Information and Communications in Rivers, Emma Okah, disclosed this to reporters at the end of the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Wike on Friday at the Government House.
He said the council resolved that it would be inappropriate to recall the Commissioner of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Dr Reason Onya, because of the inappropriate actions he took and his omissions.
“The Rivers State government accepts that the owner of the building, Sir Francis Allagoa, should bear all liability regarding compensation to families of the deceased persons and individual expenses of those injured,” Okah said.
“Sir Francis Allagoa is also to bear the cost and make good the damage done to the adjoining property owned by Mr Edna Ezekiel Hart.”
The Council further directed the Attorney General to prosecute Adeniyi Ibiyeye and Timiebi Reuben for professional misconduct.
It also resolved to report Ibiyeye to the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) as well as the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, for necessary disciplinary action.
The government affirmed that in line with the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, it would comprehensively reform the procedures and processes relating to building approvals and actual construction of buildings to eliminate failure of buildings in the future.
It noted that the collapsed building was not covered by any approval and that the one obtained in July 2014 was for a four-five floor building.
“Government accepted to push for a reviewed law to punish any developer whose building collapses due to negligence or other acts resulting in deaths,” the commissioner added.
According to him, 18 people died while 22 others suffered various degrees of injuries as a result of the tragedy.
Okah revealed that the government directed the State Civil Service Commission to take disciplinary action against the Director of Buildings and Plan Approvals, Edmund Obinna, because his actions fell short of expectations.
The commission, according to him, was also asked to take disciplinary action against the Director of Development Control, Dr Mina Aprioku, for professional deficiency.