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Friday, 12 July 2013

Couple, baby, others feared dead in Lagos, Kaduna collapsed buildings

AT least eight people were killed early Thursday while about 10 others were severely injured when a building collapsed in Ebute-Meta area of Lagos State.

The dead included a pregnant woman identified simply  as Bukola and her husband as well as an 18-month-old-boy who was fast asleep when the incident happened.

Incidentally one of the lucky survivors also included  one and a half-year-old baby, whose mother died in the incident while his father was rescued with injuries.

The Nigerian Tribune gathered that the building situated at  29b Oloto Street, Oyingbo area of Ebute Meta caved in around 2 am on Thursday, after serious signs of imminent collapse.

Many of the residents were trapped in the building until around 6 o’ clock in the morning, when heavy duty equipment from the state government arrived at the scene.

Adeniran Isiaka, a resident of a nearby building, told the Nigerian Tribune that the collapse of the building was heralded by rumbling sounds before a loud bang.

Isiaka said ,“we were waiting to eat our early morning fasting food (sahur). Myself and a friend of mine decided to be playing card to while away the time when we heard a rumbling sound and later a sudden loud bang The whole area was covered with dust from the collapsed building.”

A health worker and a member of the Community  Development  Association,  who pleaded anonymity  said that the late arrival of emergency workers led to the high casualty figures.

She said that two people had already died before the emergency workers arrived at the scene two hours after the building caved in.

It was gathered that the building until  the incident was being used as warehouse and residential apartments.

A survivor, Bilikisu Abdul Ahmed, whose mother, simply known as Alhaja , initially survived the incident but died later at the hospital, said that she was at the balcony when the building caved in.

She said that five of her siblings and their mother were in their apartment when residents raised the alarm of the imminent collapse of the building.
“I came out to see what was happening and I was still at the balcony, when I heard a sudden sound and I was covered under the rubble of the building,” Bilikisu said.

She also said that their apartment had on several occasions in the past showed signs that it may one day  collapse but that their father had always patched the  cracked portions with cement.

It was gathered that immediately the building caved in, residents of the area mobilised and started rescue operations when emergency workers did not arrive on time.

The owner of the building,  who was present, at the time of the incident, later fled .

The runaway owner and developer of the building was said to be sleeping in  a three-storey building directly in front of the collapsed building, when the incident happened.

Officials of the National Emergency !Management Authority (NEMA) Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, LASEMA, Nigeria Police and Nigeria Civil Defence Corps and Lagos State Ambulance Service  were part of the rescue operation.

Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed, while speaking at the scene said that the state government might be forced to stop the activities of developers in the state.

He claimed that four people died and that  10 others had been rescued  and noted the state government has tightened control of building approval in the state.

Ibrahim Farinloye, the spokesperson of the NEMA, South West, confirmed that seven people died in the incident and that another seven were rescued.

Farinloye said that many occupants of the building had around 1 am left the building, after it was observed that it was cracking loudly.

He continued that some of the residents returned to their apartments, after  they felt that the building was not going to collapse again.
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