Tragedy as hawker, three others killed in Lagos building collapse

By The Citizen

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. Additional report culled from Punch.

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