A Lagos State Prosecution witness, Marius Agwu, in the ongoing trial of the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd, Richard Nyong, over the alleged collapse of a six-storey building, on Monday, said the collapsed building had no approval.
Agwu, an Architect, disclosed this while giving evidence at an Igbosere High Court on Lagos Island.
Nyong is standing trial alongside other defendants — Sola Olumofe, Henry Odofin, Molabake Mortune and Omotilewa Joseph.
Also charged with the defendants are Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd, Get Too Rich Investment Ltd and HC Insight Solutions Ltd.
They are facing a six-count charge bordering on failure to obtain building permits, building approvals and involuntary manslaughter, following the collapse of a six-storey building at Lekki on March 8, 2016.
Five people reportedly died in the incident.
Agwu, led in evidence by the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said the initial plan was to erect a three-storey building, but Nyong later increased it to five floors because the demand for the building in the highbrow area was high.
The witness also told the court how one of the defendants, Mortune, discovered a defect on the building and drew the attention of the director to it, but “nothing was done about it”.
Agwu said he came in contact with the director of Lekki Gardens Estate in 2011 and had executed some projects with the company.
“I designed Lekki Gardens phase 1 project in Ajah, it is a development of four to three -bedroom flats, it is a mixed development, the people that bought the service plot built duplex there.
“I was not on the employment of Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd and was not earning a salary.
“I considered monies given to me by the director as gifts, it was not consistent and I was not given any formal employment letter,” Agwu said.
During cross-examination by the counsel to the first, sixth and seventh defendants, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the witness admitted that he was not a registered architect.
Agwu also admitted that he did not sign and seal the design of the collapsed building.
He admitted that he was once docked as the sixth defendant in the case between May 24 and June 14, when the defendants were first brought to court.
However, Olanipekun tendered the statement which Agwu made before the Police in court to prove that the integrity test and soiling test were conducted before the construction commenced.
Justice Sybil Nwaka admitted the statement as exhibit A.
Other counsels in the case are Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, for the second defendant, Mr Gboyega Okenla, for the third and eight defendants and Mr Jeta Otomi for fourth and fifth defendants.
The case was adjourned until Dec. 14 for continuation of cross-examination.