Building collapses in Nigerian city leaving school children trapped

Saul Bowman
Марта 15, 2019

Emergency services on Thursday said they had called off the search for survivors of a building collapse that killed nine in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos, as anger mounted over dilapidated property and unscrupulous owners.

"It is believed that many people including children are now trapped in the building", said Ibrahmi Farinloye, a spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency's southwest region.

Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode confirmed that there had been some casualties in the building collapse, and 25 people have been rescued, Africanews reported.

The total number of deaths from the incident remains as yet unknown, but it is sure to be more than eight people now reported by emergency agency officials.

As the sight drew uncontrollable tears from sympathisers, mostly women, the two corpses were quickly put into an ambulance and taken to the Lagos Island General Hospital mortuary. Police said they believed scores of people were trapped under the rubble.

Earlier, Ibrahim Farinloye, coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency in Nigeria's southwest region, also said it was hard to give accurate casualty figures as the rescue operation, which he coordinated, was still ongoing. Both said not all children were at the school because of sports activities.

Reports indicated that the building which had shownsigns of defect, for years, had been marked for demolition, three times, by the Lagos State Government.

Bukola Salami, a former staff teacher in the school, who spoke with NAN said the proprietor of the school had been told to vacate the building, but she balked on account that she had no money to rent another apartment.

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Mr Esinlokun said that the Lagos State Government would ensure that victims of the incident were treated in hospitals for free.

He gave the assurance on Wednesday while responding to concerns raised by some residents on the increase in illegal schools when he visited the scene of a building collapse.

Most buildings here "are said not to be in very good condition", Sam Olukoya, a Nigeria-based freelance journalist told NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.

As many as 100 children had been in the primary school on the building's top floors, witnesses said.

School bags, toys and clothes could be seen among the piles of rubble as a bulldozer tried to clear a path through some of the wreckage to help the rescue efforts.

In September 2014, 116 people, 84 of them South Africans, died when a six-storey building collapsed as a celebrity televangelist, Joshua TB, was preaching.

Building materials are often sub-standard and the enforcement of regulations in Nigeria is weak.

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