Judiciary

Lekki Gardens building collapse: Lagos State amends plea bargain agreement

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The prosecution team of the Lagos State Government is to speak with  the families of the victims of the 2017 building collapse on the Lekki Gardens Estate.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that this move is as part of procedures for an out-of-court settlement of the case .

Thirty-four persons allegedly died from the building collapse.

Mr Yhaqub Oshoala.Director of Public Prosecution (DPP),  Lagos State, made the disclosure before  an Ikeja High Court on Tuesday during the trial of Richard Nyong, Managing Director of Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd., and eight others over the building collapse.

Nyong’s co-defendants are Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd., Get Rich Investment Ltd.,  known as Horizon 1 Extension House H15, Mr Sola Olumofe, the firm’s contractor, Odofin Henry Taiwo; Omolabake Mortunde, Omotilewa Joseph and HC Insight Solution Ltd.

They are facing a six-count charge bordering on failure to obtain building approval and involuntary manslaughter over the building collapse.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, Oshoala told the court that the state had made some amendments to the Plea Bargain Agreement and had begun discussing the terms of an agreement with the families affected by the tragedy.

“My lord, parties have consented to the Plea Bargain Agreement and the state has started discussions with the affected families,” he said.

Oshoala requested for short adjournment to enable the state to  exercise due diligence in bringing the affected families before the court.

Responding,  counsel to Nyong, Mr Bode Olanipekun, agreed with the position of the prosecution and also requested for adjournment of proceedings.

Adjourning the case, Justice Sybil Nwaka said, “This case is adjourned to March 31 to enable the parties tie the loose ends in the Plea Bargain Agreement.”

NAN reports that during proceedings on Feb. 25,  Nwaka rejected the terms of an initial out-of-court settlement.

According to her, the Plea Bargain Agreement was drawn up in the absence of families of the individuals who allegedly died in the building collapse.

She had also queried why the names of the five victims who are to receive N10 million each as compensation were not included in the agreement.

According to Lekki Gardens Estates Ltd., five persons were the only victims of the tragedy as opposed to the 34  claimed by the Lagos State Government.

The judge had also noted that the amended charge, which forms part of the Plea Bargain Agreement, omitted the criminal aspects of the original charge preferred against the property development company.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

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Eniola Ayoola

Eniola Ayoola: NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. We are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @ nnn.ng. Disclaimer.

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