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Monday, 22 July 2013

Again, Collapsed Building Kills Five, Injures 10 in Lagos

Barely two weeks after a building collapsed at the Ebute Metta area of Lagos, another one caved-in Sunday at Ishaga, Surulere, killing five persons including a 13-year-old bread seller, and left 10 others with varying degrees of injuries.
This is just as the state building control agency told THISDAY that the agency had sealed the structure about three weeks ago because it was structurally defective, adding that the owner probably broke the seal and continued construction.
According to eyewitness account, the two-storey building which was nearing completion and located at No 29 Ishaga Road, Off Lawanson Road, had caved-in at about
10:a.m. and buried more than 15 persons in the rubbles before they were rescued either dead or alive.
While the bodies of the deceased persons had been taken to the nearest mortuary, it was however gathered that the bereaved family of one of the victims, a Muslim, had already picked up the corpse to bury in accordance with Muslim rites.
It was gathered that although some persons were in the collapsed building, most of the victims, including the bread seller, were merely victims happenstance who had taken shelter in the house to wait for the early morning rain to abate.
An eyewitness and one of the volunteers from Rotary Club who spoke to THISDAY, Mr. Tony Anslem, said most of the people who were injured were local rescue operators who had rushed to evacuate the persons under the rubbles.
He said, "Initially, it was just the workers and the few persons who had taken shelter that were trapped in the building when the front of the building collapsed. So some of the youths climbed in to rescue them when the back also caved in."
Meanwhile, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Dr. Abimbola Odunayo, lamented that the owner of the building had been warned as to the state of the materials used in construction, adding that the agency had to seal up the building.
While lamenting the rate at which occupants of such buildings violate the state's regulation on building, she said, "We sealed this structure about three weeks ago. It was discovered during one of our routine road shows and we sealed about four buildings around this environment.
"Whenever we seal buildings, we expect the owners to come with their various document but this particular owner of the building never turned up. This construction started even before the establishment of our agency and they were not certified.
"We told them they have to stop work. We do monitor but unfortunately, they decided to work on a Sunday when our offices are closed. That is why this building collapsed. For this to have happened, it means they broke our seal. The building is substandard and there was no approval."
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