Lekki Gardens Building Collapse: Case Adjourned Again Over Plea Bargain

Collapsed Building

The Ikeja division of the Lagos State High Court on Tuesday adjourned the case between the state government and the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens Estate, Richard Nyong, and seven others over the collapse of a five-storey building where about 34 persons were killed.

The judge, Sybil Nwaka, adjourned the case until March 31 to enable the prosecution and defence counsel tighten loose ends in the Plea and Sentence bargain brought before the court.

Justice Nwaka had earlier rejected the Plea and Sentence agreement between the state and the company on the premise that it failed to identify the families of the deceased persons whom the company wants to pay a compensation of N10 million each.

Justice Nwaka, who got angry over lack of due diligence by the attorneys, gave two weeks for the identification of the deceased families and also present them in court.

While in court on Tuesday, that state attorney said discussions had already begun with the families of the deceased and they need more time to smoothen the rough edges in the plea and sentence bargain.

Babajide Taiwo, who represented the state attorney-general, told the court at the last adjournment that all the parties involved in the matter had “bargained on an agreement on January 23, 2020.”

The bargain which led to an amended charge got the Judge furious as it left out some salient parts of the initial criminal charges against the defendants, such as negligence and involuntary manslaughter.

The plea and sentence agreement also contained a N10 million compensation for the families of five deceased persons and N100 million for the state government. The judge, however, ordered that the names of the family members that will receive the compensation be compiled and presented to court.

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Given the plea of the attorneys for more time to finalise discussions with the families of the deceased, the judge gave additional three weeks, and thereby adjourned the case to March 31.

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