BY EVELYN USMAN & BOSE ADELAJA
LAGOS — A building at Pedro Police Barracks, in Shomolu area of Lagos, collapsed Monday night, rendering at least 30 families homeless.
Although no casualty was recorded in the incident which occurred at about 8.15 p.m. but some occupants were said to have sustained minor injuries during the stampede caused by the collapse.
Eye witnesses said the building, which comprised 27 units of flats had signs of imminent danger, following cracks on the walls of some of the flats. However, some occupants told Vanguard yesterday that the cracks were only noticed on Sunday.
An eyewitness, who gave her name as Madam Justina, said: “All occupants were able to escape immediately the alarm was raised. Some of them had last Sunday noticed some cracks on their flats. This kept them on their toes. But they were unable to get alternative accommodation before the incident occurred.”
Another eyewitness, who gave her name as Queen, said: “We are grateful to God because no casualty was recorded. This is due to the fact that the Nigeria-Brazil match ended before then and people trooped out of their flats to analyse the match.
“Had the match been on, some people would have died, as there wouldn’t have been anyone to raise alarm.”
Children, who were supposed to be in school, were sighted roaming about yesterday, with some of them apparently ignorant of what happened.
Their parents, on the other hand, were busy trying to salvage their belongings from the debris. Those who managed to salvage their belongings had some of them destroyed by the mid night heavy downpour.
One of them who could not control her emotions, lamented amidst tears: “What an unkind fate. No shelter to put our heads, no clothes except those worn before the incident and now, some property I managed to get from the wreckage have been destroyed by rain.”
A representative of Pedro Police Barracks Association, Miss Osam Ebani, told Vanguard that most of the affected occupants had been turned to refugees.
She said: “The incident is disheartening in the sense that the children cannot go to school. We are now refugees in our fatherland. We are stranded trying to attach ourselves to our neighbours whose apartments are already congested.
“We are trying to raise money for alternative accommodation for our affected parents whose stipends cannot afford good accommodation for now,” the final year student of Yaba College of Technology said, appealing to the appropriate authority to come to the aid of the affected families.
When contacted, the South-West Information Officer for the National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, Ibrahin Farinloye, confirmed the incident but refused to give details. He simply said: “The incident is true and the affected occupants have been evacuated.”