As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expresses sadness over the collapse of a high-rise building under construction on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, on Nov. 1., he has refuted a claim that he once intervened in the regulatory process of the project.
The vice president also condoled with families that lost loved ones and relatives in the ‘horrible tragedy’.
Osinbajo’s sympathies were conveyed in a statement by Laolu Akande Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Office of the Vice President on Friday in Abuja.
“The vice president condoles with the families and relatives of all those who have died, were injured, or were affected in the collapse and considers the painful loss of lives a horrible tragedy.’’
Akande debunked an online media claims that Osinbajo owned the land where the ill-fated property was sited.
“Also, the attention of the vice president has been drawn to an obviously sponsored falsehood regarding the recently collapsed building published by an online media outfit on Nov. 4 to the effect that:
“ The vice president owns the land upon which the collapsed building in Ikoyi stood.
“That the said land was sold to him by Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, the Chairman of Elizade Motors;
“That the vice president, at some point, intervened with the regulatory authorities in Lagos State to unseal the said property.’’
Akande said it should be made absolutely clear that the vice president did not own and had never owned the said land.
He said that Osinbajo had also never been involved in any shape or form in the development of the said land or any other land since he became the vice president.
“At no time whatsoever did the vice president 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 Ade-Ojo or anyone for that matter.
“All property and assets owned by the vice president have been publicly declared.
“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.’’
He said it was unfortunate, wicked and an act of dangerous desperation to spread such lies.
Akande said that appropriate legal actions would be taken.
“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 dangerous desperation, as well as the heartlessness of the perpetrators of such despicable lies.
“The online outfit is undoubtedly well rewarded for their criminal and inhumane conduct.
“Typical of a hatchet job and deliberately irresponsible journalism; the publication was not signed by anyone.
“The vice president has referred this disgraceful publication to his lawyers for prompt legal action,’’ he said.