25 Rescued, Scores Trapped In Lagos Building Collapse
LAGOS, Sept 27, (THEWILL) - A four-storey building today suddenly collapsed at the Tinubu Square area of Lagos Island, where no fewer than 50 persons residing and trading in the building were trapped.
Located at 24 Alli Street, off Tinubu Square, the building collapsed at about 5.15 pm when occupants suddenly heard a deafening sound as the building submerged.
Residents in the area had begun rescue operations before the arrival of officers of Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) and Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS).
Speaking with THEWILL, Lagos State Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development Mr. Francisco Abosede confirmed the incident, but could not ascertain if any deaths had been recorded at the press time.
Lagos State Fire Service General Manager, Mr. Aderemi Ajose also confirmed the incident, but said no person had been found dead in the rubble as rescue workers "are still at work".
But a resident in the area, Mr. Adesina Adelakun said about fifteen children had been rescued from the rubble and confirmed that about twenty persons are still trapped.
An occupant, who spoke on anonymity, said the building was developed by a housing developer seventeen years ago and had since betrayed signs of structural defects, but no effort made to repair it.
He said the building "has been marked by the Lagos State Government for demolition." The owner had just retrieved the building from the developers and collected rent on the building for 15 years as he assured them of his readiness to rehabilitate it.
He said the three upper floors were occupied by tenants using the building as residential apartments while the ground floor was occupied by traders who sold their wares before the collapse.
"I live in this building. I went to work and just returned from office. We have been telling Mr. Wasiu our landlord to refund our money that we want to park out of the house, since the Lagos State Government has come to mark the house on the ground that the building did not get approval for four floors. But he refused. If he had given me back the money I paid to him as rent I would not have lost my belongings to the collapse," the occupant said.
But Adelakun said the developer who he identified as Savador had developed other properties now at the verge of collapse in the area, saying the man "is only interested in maximizing profit from the housing development by using sub-standards building materials. He therefore urged the Lagos State Government to constitute a task force to appraise most of the recently built houses in the Island to ascertain their structural integrity.
Meanwhile, Abosede confirmed that Messrs Julius Berger Plc "has been contacted to release the cranes and other heavy equipment needed for rescue operation to officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA)."
At the press time, about 25 persons have been rescued including an aged woman identified as Mama Iyabo and children who were immediately taken to the hospital using LASEMBUS ambulances.
THEWILL was told that a crane from Julius Berger Plc had arrived the site of the building at 7.30 p.m. local time to commence massive rescue operations.