Four persons, including a 15-year-old hawker identified only as Sukurah, lost their lives on Sunday after a two-storey building under construction, collapsed in Surulere, Lagos State.
Our correspondent, who visited the building on Ishaga Street, learnt that the building collapsed around 10am during the early morning rain.
PUNCH Metro also learnt that three people were rescued and were responding to treatment at different hospitals.
A friend of the 15-year-old victim, Tobi, told PUNCH Metro that she had gone to the building to sell bread to labourers few minutes before the collapse.
She said, “Sukurah and I hawk bread. The labourers called me saying they wanted to buy bread but I did not have change so I left. Sukurah entered into the building a few minutes later. It collapsed almost immediately. Sukurah attempted to run out but she was not fast enough.”
A resident, Alhaja Bukola Saka, said immediately after the collapse, youths in the area rescued three people alive, while two bodies were recovered.
An elderly man at the scene, who identified himself as Abubakar Sule, said the two corpses were those of his relatives.
He said the men were tailors but had only come to the building to help convey building materials to the top floor.
He said, “Two of them were my relatives, Aliyu and Nuhu. Mukaila is the security guard at the building and Nuhu stays here with him sometimes. He invited Aliyu to come help them convey wood to the top floor when the building collapsed. Mukaila and another person, Farouk, however, survived and have been rushed to hospital.
“Aliyu’s wife was just delivered of a baby two weeks ago; it is a very tragic incident.”
Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, the National Emergency Management Agency, the state fire service, the police, army and other relevant agencies were at the scene.
As the rescue efforts were on, a man trapped under part of the rubble made telephone call, directing his colleagues that he was at the west end of the building. Unfortunately, as officials attempted to rescue the victim, the remaining part of the building crashed down.
Chairman, Adeniji/Itire/Ishaga Community Development Association, Tajudeen Bello, said he had warned the developer of the building of the imminent collapse.
He said, “When the construction had just started, I told the developer that inferior materials were being used for the construction. Some land speculators warned me to leave the developer alone.”
The General Manager, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osayintolu, said, “The injured victims have been rushed to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and Critical Rescue Centre, Tollgate.”
A resident, who shares a fence with the collapsed building, urged the state government not to demolish his house.
The resident, Francis Ekpeyong, who claimed to be a retired air force man, said he had also warned the developer of the building of an imminent collapse. He said the pillars supporting the building were too thin.
The spokesperson, NEMA, South-West Zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, told our correspondent at 4pm that rescue efforts were over.
NEMA, LASG clash again
Meanwhile, NEMA and officials of the Lagos State Government clashed again at the scene of the Sunday collapsed building.
The clash comes about a week after the spokesperson, NEMA, South-West zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, was arrested during a rescue efforts at Ebute Meta by policemen attached to government’s Rapid Response Squad.
The Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, threatened to arrest Farinloye for granting a press interview at the scene in Ishaga.
After Oke-Osayintolu, had briefed the press, the commissioner warned state officials not to grant any press interview again until after the exercise.
However, as Farinloye was briefing newsmen, the commissioner stopped the interview and threatened to pull him out of the scene.
He said, “Will you shut up? That is how you always do; you gather journalists and you will be briefing them whereas you are not doing anything here. I asked you not to grant interview and you did not listen.
“Last week, Odumosu (RRS commander) arrested you and let you go immediately; this time around, I will make sure that you are dealt with.”
Farinloye later lamented that Lagos government officials were hostile towards NEMA, which is a Federal Government agency
He said, “It is only in Lagos that we encounter this sort of problem. NEMA is under the Federal Government and the commissioner cannot give me orders.”
House marked for demolition – LASBCA
The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Abe Adunola, said the agency had marked the building for demolition in May, adding that the developer defied the warning and continued to work on the building.
She said the collapse was caused by inferior building materials and poor management.
She said, “We did a road show some months ago and that particular building was marked for demolition. However, what the developer probably did was that he removed the seal and continued to do construction on weekends when state officials are not on duty.
“The iron rods used for the building were inferior and the labourers used were road-side labourers. There was no building engineer at the site or any experienced person.”
She said the buildings sharing fences with the collapsed building might be demolished.
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