The bodies of Mr Femi Osibona, the Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Limited, and his buddy, Wale Bob-Oseni, a Nigerian businessman based in the United States of America, have been retrieved from the 21-story building that fell on Gerrard Road in the Ikoyi region of Lagos State.
PUNCH Responders discovered their remains during the recovery effort at the scene of the incident on Thursday, according to Metro.
On Monday, real-estate trader Bob-Oseni was on his way back to the United States when he received a call from Osibona to inspect the project.
When the structure collapsed, both of their buddies were trapped.
According to our sources, the 21-story structure collapsed on Monday about 2 p.m., while Osibona, the project’s owner, his clients, and staff were there.
On Thursday, one of our reporters who was on the scene said that no fewer than 40 bodies had been removed from the area.
However, after 1 p.m., Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that 32 bodies had been found.
The identification of bodies collected by emergency officials has been delayed, according to some relatives of the dead.
Sanwo-Olu had previously stated that autopsies were being performed on the bodies, but that families would be able to identify their loved ones starting Thursday.
The bereaved families claimed they were denied access to the bodies when they went to the Mainland Hospital mortuary in Yaba on Thursday.
Despite the governor’s assurances, Edward Godwin, the father of an 18-year-old boy, said he was not allowed to identify his son’s body.
He said, “I honestly needed to see my son yesterday (Wednesday). I’ve been to the general hospital to check those injured, but my son was not there. I thought I would be able to see him today, but I’ve not been able to see my son.”
A woman, who did not identify herself, said she had been to the state morgue as well but was not allowed to identify her sister’s son.
She said, “The governor said yesterday (Wednesday) that we would be able to see the corpses recovered today (Thursday) and check if our loved ones were there. But when I went there today, I was not allowed to see anything despite telling them that the governor said we would be able to check today.
“I want to know if the boy is still alive or dead. I have not told my sister about what happened because she’s not staying in Lagos and I want to know if he’s dead or not before telling her. The government should just allow us to see if our people are there or not.”
Another woman, who identified herself as Florence, said she spoke with her brother on Sunday before she got a call that he was among those trapped.
She said, “My younger brother is here; I spoke with him last on Sunday but someone called me that something happened and I came here yesterday.
“Someone told me he was among those rushed to the hospital and I went to the general hospital and showed someone his picture and he confirmed that he was brought in unconscious. But since yesterday, I’ve not seen him or sure of the hospital he was taken to.”
PUNCH Metro observed as a black Toyota Highlander reportedly owned by an aluminium fabricator trapped in the rubble was driven away from the site on Thursday.
The wife of the victim, who sat under a tree, looked vague and declined comment when one of our correspondents approached her.
Conflicting casualty figures
A senior government officer, who did not want to be identified, told PUNCH Metro that 35 males and three females were brought out dead from the rubble as of 11.50am on Thursday.
One of our correspondents, who was at the scene, noted that more bodies were brought out after that time.
However, the state governor, Sanwo-Olu, while addressing journalists on Thursday around 1pm, said the state Ministry of Health was in charge of taking corpses to the morgue.
He said, “As we stand here and we speak, we have recovered a total of 32 dead bodies and they have been transported to the morgue and the reason why the corpses were moved to the IDH is because it’s one of the foremost preserved morgues we have in Lagos.
“Let’s understand what the chain of command is. This is a Lagos State site and so the Lagos State’s chain of command and control is from the state Ministry of Health; they are the ones that have taken corpses to the morgue so they are accountable and the people that are moving corpses here are staff of the Lagos State Ministry of Health; the staff that are leading rescue here are staff of LASEMA.
“A dead body is not what you hide; it’s what you take to the morgue and it’s only when it’s accountable from here to the morgue that we have a proper register of it.”
Speaking on why families were not able to identify their corpses, Sanwo-Olu said autopsies had not been concluded.
“The coroner inquest takes their turn and the certification by the pathologists are currently going on. We’re pushing them to ensure they can work very quickly to make if not all the bodies but some of the bodies ready by tomorrow (Friday).
“That is the deadline we have pushed them to so families can come and look and identify the bodies and at the appropriate time take their body away,” he added.
The governor, however, said he would give an exception to the man who came from Abuja to check the photographs of the bodies recovered and see if his son was there.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the independent panel that would investigate the collapse had been officially inaugurated and given a seal of office.
He said, “They have all the powers in case they want to summon, ask and engage anybody whatsoever in the course of their investigation to be able to give a thorough objective and transparent advice and recommendations coming out from the investigation panel and they have 30 days turnaround to do their work because of the importance and urgency.”
You may be interested
Buhari, Bello, North’s Speakers, ACF mourn WushishiWebby - December 6, 2021
By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja and AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna President Muhammadu Buhari, Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, Speakers of the 19…
CJN speaks on state of judiciary WednesdayWebby - December 6, 2021
Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, will make an address on the state of the judiciary on…