Posted by By Michael Simire, Rasheed Bisiriyu, Sunday Aborisade and Lekan Adetayo on
A four-storey building collapsed in Ebute-Meta, Lagos on Tuesday, leaving more than 120 residents trapped in the rubble....
A four-storey building collapsed in Ebute-Meta, Lagos on Tuesday, leaving more than 120 residents trapped in the rubble.But the death toll could not be confirmed as at press time.
Our correspondents gathered that the building, located at 56, Bola Street, off Ibadan end of Ebute-Meta, caved in around 7pm after a sudden vibration.
A resident along the street said, “No one had an inkling of the incident. We just heard a deafening bang.
“We immediately mobilised ourselves to rescue some of the victims. Some residents also contacted relevant agencies.”
He said over 120 people were trapped in the rubble, especially children and their mothers.
He added that the victims included many customers in a restaurant, salon and six other shops on the ground floor of the building.
As at 9pm on Tuesday, the rescue operation was still in progress with two buses of the Lagos State Ambulance Service on standby for evacuation.
Some of the survivors were taken to Halmat Hospital, Borno Way in Ebute-Meta.
But the outage in the area made the rescue operation difficult as residents had to use lamps to evacuate victims.
A man, who simply described himself as David, told our correspondents that his wife and three children were trapped in the building.
David, who was in tears, said, “I am just coming from work and you can imagine what has befallen me. My wife and children were inside the building when it collapsed.”
Although the immediate cause of the incident could not be immediately ascertained as at press time, it was gathered that there had been a dispute over the building.
It was learnt that some residents of the area had petitioned the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development over the hasty construction of the building.
A source said that the state government was still investigating the petition.
The General Manager, Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority, Alhaji Sulaimon Yusuf, described the disaster as “grave,” adding that residents and neighbours had no cause to be suspicious of the state of the building because it was built only five years ago.
“The collapse started from the ground. The building practically sank into the ground,” he said.
On March 22, 2006, the 18-storey Bank of Industry building on Broad Street, Lagos collapsed, killing some people and injuring 24 others.
The top eight floors of the structure that had been gutted by fire a few days earlier were the worst hit during the incident, which occurred as the national census entered its second day.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Mr. Olubode Ojajuni, told our correspondents on the telephone at about 9pm that details on casualty figure were still sketchy.
Ojajuni, a deputy superintendent of police, said the police were contacting relevant agencies to assist in rescue operation since these were reports that people were trapped in the collapsed building.
He said the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations, Mr. Paul Okafor, had already mobilised regular and riot policemen to pull back the crowd that besieged the scene so as to give those on rescue mission the opportunity of doing their job.
The police spokesman added that policemen were also stationed in the area and adjoining streets to ensure that hoodlums did not use the opportunity to loot.
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