Boss of Lagos building firm charged with manslaughter

The fatal collapse happened after heavy rains in upmarket Lekki, which is home to some of the most expensive property in Lagos.

Lekki Gardens MD, Richard Nyong (right) and contractor arrive an Ebute-Meta Magistrate Court in handcuffs on Friday, March 11.

The Lagos state government said it had filed criminal charges against the managing director of Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd, Richard Nyong, over the incident on March 8 last year.

The fatal collapse happened after heavy rains in upmarket Lekki, which is home to some of the most expensive property in the southwestern city of Lagos.

The state government said Nyong and five others, including the contractor, were facing six charges of failure to obtain building approval and manslaughter.

Charges were filed on Friday but no date was given for the defendants to appear in court, it added in an emailed statement.

Lekki has developed rapidly in recent years into a preferred location for wealthier Nigerians and expatriate workers keen to escape more crowded areas of megacity Lagos.

The area is home to gated communities of US-style suburban homes. Prices for a detached house can reach into the millions of dollars.

Building collapses are common in densely populated areas of Lagos, which is home to some 20 million people. Poor workmanship and materials, and a lack of official oversight area often blamed.

The Lagos state government said at the time that building work had continued on the property despite it being served a contravention notice for exceeding the approved number of floors.

The addition of floors without proper planning approval was ruled to have been a factor in the collapse of a church guesthouse in Lagos in September 2014.

A total of 116 people were killed, 81 of them South Africans, in the collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations complex of popular evangelical preacher TB Joshua.

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