Death toll rises to eight in collapsed building, 15 rescued

The building collpase site.

• Raise alarm on suspicious construction, Lagos urges residents

The death toll in Tuesday’s collapsed building on Lagos Island, rose to eight with 15 others rescued though unconfirmed reports from residents put the toll at 12 dead bodies recovered and 24 others rescued. A four-storey building had collapsed at Tokunbo, off Odunfa Road, Carrena/Martins Street, Lagos Island, on Tuesday around 2:30p.m. with many people trapped in the building.

As at Tuesday evening, two dead bodies were evacuated from the building while 14 others were rescued. But working overnight till around 11a.m. yesterday, six more dead bodies were recovered.

Residents. however, countered the official figures, claiming they counted 12 bodies as at the time the rescue operation by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and other emergency responders were concluded on the site.

The Guardian gathered that an 11-year-old boy was brought out alive from the ruins of the building around 4a.m. on Wednesday, after spending close to 15 hours in the rubble.

General Manager, LASEMA, Adesina Tiamiyu, confirmed that eight dead bodies had been evacuated from the building while 15 people had so far been rescued as at Wednesday evening.

According to Ibrahim Farinloye, the South-West spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the rescue team completed the operation after reaching the ground zero around 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

He said integrity test would be carried out on other buildings in the area to prevent recurrence of the incident. “The collapsed building was initially a bungalow before it was converted to a four-storey with a penthouse. The required six-foot in-between building was not observed in the area.”

Farinloye advised the Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency to prevail on house owners to renovate their buildings regularly. He said the advice followed the challenges of the climate change, which might have effects on buildings in view of high volume of rainfall this year.

Tiamiyu said the account given by the community on the collapsed building was that a telecommunication mast was erected on top of the building and some residents exactly two weeks ago rejected a generating set brought there for the mast.

One of the residents, Yusuf Ali, blamed the collapse on greed by the landlords. “They know it is an old building and they allowed one of the communication networks to erect a mast on top of it.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government yesterday urged Lagosians not to hesitate to raise alarm if they suspect any discrepancy in the construction of any building within their vicinity.  

Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowoshe, who spoke when he visited the site of the building, said Lagosians must join hands with the government and report property owners and developers where they sense any irregularity during construction.

“My advice is for Lagosians, especially tenants that live in these houses. We have been saying this times without number, if you see your landlord doing anything dangerous to your safety, please be a whistle blower, make noise, tell us, let government know in advance. We were informed that this mast was erected two weeks ago. If the mast had not been erected, we might not have had this ugly situation.”
Please be on the look-out, let us be our brothers’ keeper,” he said.

In this article:
Adesina TiamiyuLASEMA
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