Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has denied any link with the 21-storey building that collapsed in Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday, saying he has no interest whatsoever in the said property.
The Vice President, in a statement issued on Friday by his Media Assistant, Laolu Akande, noted that all his property had been documented in the asset declaration form “which is in the public domain,” and commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives in the incident.
Also on Friday, the Lagos State Government revealed that 38 bodies had been recovered from the collapsed building, as rescue operation entered Day Four and called on families of the deceased to go to the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for identification of the corpses.
Reports surfaced online linking the Vice-President to the collapsed building’s land, and there were also claims that the said land was sold to Osinbajo by Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, Founder of Elizade Motors.
Osinbajo debunked the reports, and said further that he never intervened with the regulatory authorities in Lagos State to unseal the Ikoyi property at any point.
The Vice President said he had briefed his lawyers to sue the online medium that linked him to the said property.
Osinbajo added that he has no business or property dealings with the Chairman of Elizade Motors, Chief Michael Ade Ojo and at no time too did he put any call across to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu over the said property.
The statement said: “Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is saddened by the events that occurred in Lagos on Monday, 1st of November 2021, where a high-rise building under construction on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, collapsed.
“He condoles with the families and relatives of all those who have died, were injured or affected in the collapse. Prof. Osinbajo considers this painful loss of lives a horrible tragedy.
“Also, the attention of the Vice President has been drawn to an obviously sponsored falsehood regarding the recently collapsed building.
“Let it be made absolutely clear that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo does not own and has never owned the said land. He has also never been involved, in any shape or form, in the development of this or any other land since he became Vice President.
“At no time whatsoever did the VP buy this or any other piece of land from Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, or entered into any transaction for the sale of that land or any other piece of land from Chief Ade-Ojo or anyone for that matter.
“Also, the Vice President has never spoken to the Governor of Lagos State or any other official of the State Government regarding the unsealing of the said building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, which subsequently collapsed.
“He has, indeed, never acted to influence any other regulatory action on the collapsed building, or any other building for that matter, in Lagos State.
“The Vice President restates categorically that he has no interest whatsoever, and has never had any interest, either legally or beneficially, in the land, the building or development.
“The wickedness and viciousness of a lie that seeks to utilise a tragedy where so many people have lost their lives, even as rescue efforts are ongoing, and in wanton disregard to the feelings and untold grief of their loved ones for political gain, reveals a dangerous desperation, as well as the heartlessness of the perpetrators of such despicable lies.”
Ade-Ojo: I Didn’t Sell Collapsed Building’s Land to Osinbajo
Meanwhile, the founder of Elizade Motors and Elizade University, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo has said he did not sell the land of the collapsed building in Ikoyi to Osinbajo.
Ade-Ojo, who said this in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, however, added that he owns a property adjacent to the collapsed building and that he is not willing to sell it.
Death Toll Now 38
The Lagos State Government on Friday said bodies recovered from the Ikoyi collapsed building were ready for identification and called on families to go to the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) Yaba to identify the corpses of their loved ones.
The state government said 38 bodies had been recovered so far from the collapsed building as rescue operation entered Day Four, while family members had submitted 32 names of those still missing.
Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, while giving an update to the press, said the bodies would be ready for identification from 4pm Friday.
Omotoso said an autopsy would be carried out on the corpses before releasing them to their families.
He said recovery work was still ongoing and would continue until the government is able account for everybody inside the building at the time of the collapse and certify that nobody is left behind in the collapsed building.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja