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I survived Oshodi tragedy but my friend died – Yusuf

Taking care of the wounded

By Ebun Babalola
For the survivors of the collapsed building which occurred at Cairo market area of Oshodi on Monday around 9.00 a.m,  it was  tears of joy although, several people sustained severe injuries and many  died.

Those who were rescued  could not do anything but  give thanks to God and praise their ancestors for saving their lives.
Yusuf, 29 was one of the workers who survived the tragedy but he lost his best friend  in  the incident. According to him, both of them were working at the time the building collapsed but  he said, God helped him and he was able to come out alive.

Yusuf who is still nursing the injuries  he sustained in the incident and at the same time mourning the death of his best friend said, the incident came at the time  things were turning out well for them.

His word: “My sister, I feel so sad about this whole thing. The irony of  this is that, before we left the house that morning, I  told my friend that  I didn’t  feel like working but, he persuaded me and we both went. Even, when we got there, I spent time   chatting with some of my friends around the market before we resumed duty and then this incident happened”.

When asked how he was able to come out of  the rubble, he said, it was God’s grace. “I don’t even how I came out of  the place. The only thing was that, I couldn’t see my friend again.  We were working together and when the incident happened, , I didn’t see him again. My friend is dead. He was trapped inside the rubble and couldn’t come out alive.

Thank God, I’m alive”, he said.

Meanwhile, an old woman, aged  60 ,lost her only child in the incident. Efforts to get her speak with Saturday Vanguard proved abortive but  from the people around, it was gathered that her son, Sherif died in the incident.  According to the information gathered, Lukman  got married  shortly before the incident .“He resumed work as usual on that day but could not come back again”.

Sympathizers who came by could not hold back their tears and  for the woman, the only thing she said, was, “Lagos State government should provide my son for me. My son must not die”, she said.

Another survivor, Idris, a young man in his early 30s was rescued from the rubble at about 3.20 pm. He was immediately given First Aid  by a  medical personnel.  About 20 minutes later, Idris was taken to an unknown hospital.

According to information gathered, about 80 people were working on the building before the incident occurred. Although, few people  reportedly survived ,several others died.

The collapsed part is the section under construction.

Some residents and textile traders said more people are still trapped under the rubble.
A worker at the site, Monsuru, said the deceased were his colleagues. He added that some people were still trapped under the debris.

When asked what  caused the collapse of the building , he said the construction is the project of Lagos state government under the auspices of Providal Construction Limited, JSP. It was however speculated that proper soil test was not carried out before commencement of  actual construction of the building.

According to speculators,  “It was possible that the construction company didn’t do a solid foundation before commencing the work. That land was a sawmill before Lagos State government acquired it,” they said.  The eye witnesses said that the construction started about  seven months ago and was being concluded   before the incident happened.

“Although, the place was acquired by the Lagos State Government, it was formerly a sawmill ground but the government drove the people away. It was just exactly one year after they were driven that this incident happened. It was on the 26th of April, 2009 and this building collapsed on the same date, the following year”.

Other witnesses disclosed that the workers heard a strange noise on the ground floor which they believe led to the collapse.

“We come  work early in the morning and we don start when we hear noise for the decking, as the thing crack, na me be the head of the labourers and we pass ten labourers wey dey work before the building fall,” said Mr. Olowo.

“As I dey for ground dey work, the building make noise, the decking crack and I run outside before he fall down, but some people still dey inside wey the building don bury, people like Baba Alhaji, na him be the head of the carpenter, also Fatai, too we never see am, him be labourer.”

Mr. Olowo also attributed the collapse to fetish practices of the former owners of the property.

“We know say this land na some people get am before dem come take am from their hand to build market. This kind thing, the people no fit dey happy and peace no go dey, even self, we remove plenty juju (charms) wey dem don bury under the ground, as we dey work na so we go dey see orisi risi sacrifice wey dem put. So, I feel say na these people na them make this building come collapse.”


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