* 30 rescued from rubble, many still trapped
By Albert Akpor, Evelyn Usman & Ifeanyi Okolie
LAGOS â€” RESIDENTS of Oyingbo and environs in Ebute-metta, Lagos Mainland Local Government woke up yesterday to the sight of a two-storey building, reportedly built about 45 years ago, reduced to rubble after a downpour on Saturday night.
As at the time of filing this report, 13 persons were confirmed dead while 30 others were said to have been rescued from the rubble through the combined efforts of rescue workers which include officials of the Lagos State Traffic Authority (LASTMA), Red Cross and the police.
The injured persons are presently at the Lagos Island General hospital where doctors are said to be battling to save their lives.
Victims were said to be mainly children and residents who were fast asleep during the downpour. The cause of the building collapse was not clear but sources said a â€˜terrifying noiseâ€™ was heard after a thunder storm while it was raining.
According to sources, the collapsed building was originally planned and erected as a warehouse, but was converted to a two-storey residential building later.
The ground floor was still used as a warehouse while the top floor was residential quarters for workers of the Nigerian Railways. Electronic equipment, sources said, used to be stored in the warehouse.
When Vanguard got to the scene yesterday, rescue work was still ongoing with a view to ascertaining whether people were still trapped in the debris.
A member of the Nigerian RedÂ Cross rescue team who did not want his name in print told Vanguard that thirteen dead bodies were pulled out of the rubble while fifteen others who were rescued alive but were in critical conditions have been taken to the hospital.
Chairman of the Lagos State Red Cross Society, Deacon Timothy told Vanguard that they had to remain at the scene to provide medical assistance to the injured persons, most of who have been rushed to the hospital for better attention.
He added that an information centre has been opened for collation of data for those still looking for their missing relations.
A source at the site of the collapsed building said many other people were still trapped in the debris adding that the building actually collapsed around 3.00am during the heavy downpour.
â€œWe heard a loud noise after a thunderstorm during the rain and later discovered that it was a building in the Iddo- terminus.Â Some of us rushed there because it was still raining heavily and discovered that many people have been trapped.
We could hear people screaming for help but we were helpless because the time was still past 3.00am. So we contacted the police.â€
Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, said he could not confirm any casualty figure yet as he was still expecting more information from the policemen on the ground.
He however said that immediately the report of the collapsed building got to the police, they moved to the scene and cordoned off the whole area to ward off people who might capitalise on the situation to loot.