Recents in Beach

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STORY SO FAR...School Building Collapse:

Ten persons, including four pupils, were feared dead on Wednesday following the collapse of a building on No. 63 Massey Street, Ita Faaji area of Lagos Island.

About 50 other persons had been pulled out of the rubble alive as of the time of going to press.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the three-storey building, which housed a school, Ohen Nursery and Primary School, and residential apartments, caved in around 10am.

When our correspondent visited the scene of the incident, rescue operation was ongoing and the total casualty figure could not be immediately ascertained.

A resident of the area, identified simply as Iya Segun, said the building collapsed as a result of its dilapidated state, alleging that government officials responsible for inspecting and certifying buildings for habitation had always turned a blind eye after being bribed by the owners.
The son of the owner of the building, Erinoluwa Akinmoladun, said the house was under the management of a developer, whom he identified only as Mr Giwa.

He said the construction of the building was completed in 2010 by the developer, who was supposed to manage it for 10 years.

Erinoluwa, who was at the scene assisting rescue workers, added that his father had been rescued, but was not sure if all his siblings had been pulled out from the debris.

When our correspondent visited the Lagos Island General Hospital, no fewer than four pupils were brought in dead and 42 names were made available by the management as those rescued and responding to treatment.

A mother of three, identified simply as Iya Sukura, whose children attend the school, said two were in critical conditions, while her first daughter was still trapped.

A man, Mr Yekini Ayoola, said his five-year-old grandson, Fawaz, was still trapped in the rubble of the building.

The father of a survivor, Tony Ikueze, said his eight-year-old daughter, Chiamaka, had gone to the school on her own.

“She is my last born. She went on her own to the school this morning, because it is not far from where we live. I was in the bathroom and saw the building collapse when I looked through the window. At first, I thought it was a bomb blast. I thank God that my daughter survived it,” Ikueze said.

Our correspondent witnessed a scene where an 11-year-old pupil, Taofeekat Rasheed, was about to be wheeled to the morgue and her family insisted that she should be handed over to them for burial according to Islamic rites, but she suddenly showed signs of life as she opened her eyes faintly.

A cardio pulmonary resuscitation was carried out on her and she was immediately taken to the emergency room.

According to the General Manager, LASEMA, Mr Adeshina Tiamiyu, the number of casualties cannot be ascertained until the rescue operation is over.

“So far, we have been able to rescue over 40 people. When we finish the rescue operation we can give an accurate number of the victims in collaboration with the medical personnel,” he stated.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who got to the scene of the building collapse around 2.42pm, described the incident as unfortunate, and appealed to residents to allow rescuers to carry out their operations without any hindrance

He stated, “I want to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in this collapsed building. I want to quickly let Lagosians know that this is quite an unfortunate incident. All we are trying to do is to scale up the rescue operation.

“Our response units are already here; we are getting additional cranes to be able to go deeper than where we are now to rescue more trapped victims.”

The governor also gave the assurance that the state government would take over the treatment and foot the bills of the victims.

Ambode said most of the buildings in the area had been marked for demolition, but that some property owners in the area had defied demolition notices, but added that going forward, structurally defective buildings would be demolished.

Reacting to the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari said he was extremely saddened by the collapse of the building, which claimed lives, including schoolchildren.

He condoled with the families of the victims and the Lagos State Government, and wished those who were injured speedy recovery.

The President asked the state government to put structures in place to ensure that such tragedies did not occur again.

In a post on Twitter, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, consoled the families of those who were affected by the collapse.

He said “My heartfelt prayers are with all the families affected by today’s building collapse in the Ita Faaji area of Lagos Island, particularly the young schoolchildren, who are reportedly trapped inside. I pray for their safe rescue.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, expressed “deep sadness” over the death of the pupils following the collapse of the building.

Dogara, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, said it was heart-breaking that “innocent souls would perish in such a dreadful manner” and called for a thorough investigation of the unfortunate incident. 

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