The Lands and Natural Resources Minister says families of victims in the collapsed church building at Akim Batabi in the Eastern Region can seek legal redress.

In an interview with JoyNews, Kweku Asumah Kyeremeh noted that civil suit can be slapped on the contractor of the building as well as the owner of the building to settle all grievances.

It was around 4:00 pm when the Church of Prosperity owned by Prophet Akuwa Isaac collapsed on about 60 congregants who had assembled for a church programme on Tuesday.

So far, nine dead bodies have been exhumed from the debris of a collapsed three-storey building, including a 60-year-old Afia Tameklo who was reportedly killed by a falling pillar as she tried to escape.

According to a police report, the bodies were retrieved from the scene at 9:40 pm when the rescue exercise was put on hold.

The rescue team was made up of NADMO officials, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the police, soldiers from jungle warfare, fire personnel and local volunteers who had to wait for appropriate equipment from Accra to be used in the exercise.

Meanwhile, Mr Kyeremeh charged the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) to intensify their duties to regularly inspect and monitor buildings being constructed in their various districts.

This, he explained, when properly done, will avoid the reoccurrence of building collapse.

The old town and country planning office is for LUPSA, so when it is brought to their attention then they will go through the law established in 1996 which enjoins them to demolish structures that have been put up without permit.

“But before that, they will have to give notice to the constructor or the owner of the structure for a number of days, if he doesn’t do, then they can go to court, seek orders of the court and demolish the building.

“They don’t do it on their own, they would have to pass through the legal process to have it demolished,” he said.

Acknowledging the problem that prevents some officers with LUPSA from effectively doing their jobs, he said, “Some of the officers have been at their post in a certain community for a while, therefore, they find it difficult to do this [demolish the houses of people] because they know the people, and they wouldn’t want their names to be mentioned.”