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Nigeria building collapse

Posted by By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press Writer on 2006/07/19 | Views: 2212 |

Nigeria building collapse

LAGOS, Nigeria - A four-story apartment building collapsed overnight in Nigeria's commercial capital....

LAGOS, Nigeria - A four-story apartment building collapsed overnight in Nigeria's commercial capital, and Red Cross officials helping pull survivors out of the rubble Wednesday said at least 16 people were killed.

Up to 180 people were believed to live in the building, located in a poor Lagos district, but it was not known how many were home when it suddenly collapsed Tuesday night.

Red Cross official Timothy Oladene said 16 people, many of them wounded and caked with dust and debris, had been rescued and taken to hospitals across the city.

Prince Oniru, an adviser to the Lagos state government on infrastructure, said the building was poorly constructed.

The state governor visited the site and vowed to prosecute those responsible. "The developer cannot run away. He has property in Lagos. The government will seize it and prosecute him," Gov. Bola Tinubu told a gathering crowd.

The structure was reduced to a pile of rubble, and several trapped people could be heard shouting from inside the debris, witnesses said.

Complicating efforts, power was out in the Ebute-Meta district and volunteers worked though the night with candles and flashlights, Oladene said.

After daybreak, police kept back thousands of people who crowded around the building looking for loved ones. The crowds cheered as a woman was brought out alive. Three cranes worked to lift larger pieces of rubble.

Oladene said a Red Cross employee was among those trapped inside.

"We have rescued his wife and two children but the man is still inside," Oladene said. "We will be here until we find the last person."

The building contained 36 apartments. Several shops and businesses, including a hair salon, were on the ground floor.

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