Lagos – Mr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), said that occupants of a two-storey building that collapsed in Lagos on Wednesday had ignored government`s safety warnings.
The two-storey building, Block M20, Jakande Estate, at Church Street, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos, collapsed shortly after midnight, killing two sisters.
Oke-Osanyintolu, who made the disclosure in Lagos, said that the state government had conducted series of structural tests on the building.
He explained that occupants had been repeatedly informed of its distressed state and the dangers in their continued habitation of the building.
“This is the kind of disasters we have always tried to avoid , but unfortunately, some residents are not just co-operating with the state government at the expense of their safety.
“The results of the series of structural tests we conducted on the collapsed building showed that the structure was weak and not fit for habitation.
“We had repeatedly warned the occupants of the dangers and asked them to leave but unfortunately, they ignored these warnings.
“This disaster is preventable. It would not have happened this way if the occupants had complied,” he said.
Oke-Osanyintolu said some of the buildings that collapsed in the metropolis were due to residents’ defiance to government safety warnings.
He urged residents to subject their buildings to routine structural tests by government to ascertain their state of habitation.
“We cannot open our eyes and allow all of these to go on. Henceforth, we will begin strict enforcement of evacuation order on distressed buildings.
“We are not going to wait for occupants to leave because some will not just leave. We are concerned with the safety of lives and properties,” he said.
The General Manager said emergency response officials had been mobilised to the site of the incident to ensure safe evacuation of all occupants.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that building would be demolished to avert further disasters.
Meanwhile the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has advised the Lagos State Government to conduct comprehensive assessment of buildings in all its housing estates.
Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, the South-West Zonal Information Officer of the agency, gave the advice in on Wednesday in Lagos.
He gave the advice at the collapsed building that killed two sisters in Isolo, noting that the structure was erected during the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande as the governor of Lagos State –1979 to 1983.
He said that the assessment was necessary to determine the suitability of the buildings for continued habitation.
Many of the two-storey buildings, constructed about 30 years ago, have become dilapidated, with cracks on their walls.
According to Farinloye, the Lagos State Ministry of Housing will assess the houses to determine their suitability to serve as residential buildings.
“We have advised residents to immediately evacuate the buildings, to avoid further loss of lives.
“The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has taken over the site of the collapsed building for proper assessment,’’ he said.
Farinloye advised residents of the other buildings to cooperate with appropriate government agencies, scheduled to conduct the assessment, in order to safeguard lives and properties. (NAN)