A former Rivers State commissioner for Urban development and physical planning, Reason Onya, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Onya resigned from Governor Nyesom Wike’s cabinet on November 28th, 2018 following controversy over the collapse of a 7-storey building at Woji Road, GRA Phase 2, five days earlier which killed more than 20 persons.
He was accused of complicity in collapse of the hotel building, after he allegedly approved the elevation of the building initially designed to be a 5-storey structure to 7-storey.
He, however, denied any wrongdoing.
During the Justice Enebeli’s commission of inquiry set up by Wike to unravel the cause of the collapse, Dr Tammy Danagogo, a former Commissioner in the ministry said dereliction and compromises made by top officials in the ministry was responsible for the collapse of the 7-Storey building.
Danagogo, currently the secretary to the state government, accused Onya for playing a major role in the building collapse.
Danagogo, who served as commissioner in the ministry from October 2011 to December 2013, told Justice Adolphus Enebeli’s Commission of Inquiry that the ministry was bugged by sharp practices.
The former commissioner stressed that before he assumed office, there were many sharp practices in the ministry, including indiscriminate approval of building plans by directors.
He pointed out that he was able to curb the excesses in the ministry.
He said, “When I got there, there was indiscriminate approval of building plans by the directors in the ministry.
“Every director approved plans; they (the directors) all had their boys, who would meet every prospective client and take them to their masters. In most cases, the proper thing was not done.
“As a result, I set up a committee consisting members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Architects and other professional bodies. We restructured the system and came up with a template for building plan approval and a checklist.”
He further accused Onya and directors in the ministry of neglecting their duties.
According to him “Anywhere you see a building collapse, it means that someone has not done his job properly. That is what I have learnt in my experience, otherwise buildings don’t just collapse unless there is a natural disaster.
“There is dereliction of duty and compromise on the part of the commissioner, Dr Reason Onyia, and the directors in the Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, because if the right thing was done, any irregularities on the part of the owner of the building or his agent, in this case, the drawer of the building plan, would have been detected from the approval stage.”
Wike who had said those found culpable in the collapse of the building will be prosecuted. However, three years after the commission submitted its report and recommendations, no one has been prosecuted.