Wednesday, December 1

How 21-storey building collapsed in Lagos, traps owner and his clients

Tragedy struck in Lagos State on Monday when a 21-storey building under-construction collapsed, killing no fewer than 10 people and trapping scores.

The Daily Vendor Newspaper gathered that many people were still trapped in the rubble, including the Managing Director, Fourscore Heights Limited, Mr Femi Osibona, who owned the collapsed building located on Gerard Road in the Ikoyi area of the State.

It was also learnt that Mr Osibona had some of his clients and engineers with him in the building before the tragic incident.

A worker at the site who narrowly escaped the incident, told reporters that about 50 persons were still trapped in the rubble, adding that the incident happened when workers were fully on the site.

According to the source “This project, 360 Degree, was built by Fourscore Homes Limited. I went to plug my phone and not up to five seconds that I left the building, I saw it coming down and I ran to safety. We have a lot of people trapped in the rubble, who we need to bring out.

“When the incident happened, we brought out six dead bodies and we still have like 30 Togolese and Nigerian bricklayers and four engineers and other workers. My boss, Mr Femi, is still trapped in the building. He was on the 18th floor with some of his clients, who wanted to buy the building, when the incident happened.”

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Another source told reporters that the building did not show any sign before it caved in.

“When the incident happened, I was the first person to climb the building to the last floor and I saw corpses. I started calling people to come and rescue others. We recovered six dead bodies, rescued one, while the rest are still under the rubble.

“The building didn’t give any sign, it just came down. We were still working on it. It took an hour before the emergency agencies came and we had brought out the dead bodies and rescued one person before they came. If I’m not mistaken, about 40 persons were on site, because we were working at the time. Some people came from Abuja today (Monday) to work. I have many friends still trapped in the building.

How 21-storey building collapsed in Lagos, traps owner and his clients 1
The collapsed building

“When the police came, they chased us out and didn’t allow us to rescue anyone again; if they had allowed us, we would still have rescued more people.”

An eyewitness, Blessing Feyijimi, who lamented the lack of equipment by the first responders, stated that more people would have been rescued if they were better equipped.

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He said, “When the incident happened around 1.36pm, we started rescuing people but the security men locked the gate and didn’t allow people to enter. We protested and forced our way in. We recovered four dead bodies on the last floor and rescued four injured persons; but some people are still trapped in the rubble.”

Speaking, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, said five deaths were recorded, and three others rescued.

The National Emergency Management Agency, Coordinator in the South-West, Ibrahim Farinloye, however said four corpses were recovered from the building, adding that four persons were rescued.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, police, army and paramedics, were among the mergency responders at the scene.

The State Government, while reacting to the incident, urged residents to remain calm.

Speaking in a statement, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, said rescue agencies were on the ground to save those under the rubble.

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Adding that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had ordered an investigation into the incident, adding that a report of the probe would be made public.

However, the state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, in a statement on Monday, said investigations had commenced to unravel the cause of the collapse.

The statement added that the general managers of the Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority were on the ground to make a summary assessment on the extent of damage to the surrounding structures, if any.

The state Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, said it was important to cordon off the scene of the incident to facilitate the efforts of professional rescuers and limit casualties.

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