By Kingsley Adegboye
The seeming recurring decimal of building collapse reared its tragic head once again on Sunday in Lagos and by the time rescue operation could be mounted 11 people had lost their lives while others sustained different degrees of injuries.
This is besides valuable possessions also lost in the process. As was the case in similar tragic incidents, the residents of a two-storey building in Iddo area of Lagos Mainland Local Area had little or no premonition that tragedy was lurking until the entire 45 years old structure collapsed on them that ill-fated Sunday.
Rescue operations, however, continued on Monday at the site through the combined efforts of officials of the Red Cross, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and other voluntary bodies such as the Police as they battled through the rubbles to see if there were still bodies trapped in there.
Speaking to Vanguard Metro at the site of the collapsed building a Nigerian Red Cross official informed that 11 persons had so far been confirmed to have lost their lives in the incident, adding that the rescued injured persons numbering over 30 were rushed to the Lagos Island General Hospital for treatment.
The official further noted that most of the victims were children who were fast asleep when the collapse occurred. â€œAs you can see, we are still battling to remove the rubbles of the collapsed structure to see if there are still more people trapped in the rubbles. So far, 11 persons lost their lives through the incident. The structure as we gathered, is an old building believed to have been built about 45 years ago,â€ the official said.
Our investigation revealed that the old structure was originally designed to be a warehouse but it was later converted into a two-storey residential building with the ground floor remaining as a warehouse until the collapse occurred on Sunday. Nigerian Railway workers were said to be residents in the building.
However, efforts to get the reaction of the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on speculation about whether the site will be confiscated by the state government proved abortive as the Commissioner in the Ministry could not be reached. Media interest in the Ministryâ€™s reaction was fuelled by heightened belief inÂ the cause of the collapse being due toÂ structural failure which translates to contravention of building approval.
But Mr. Kunle Awobodu, Chairman, Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) who led members of his exco to the site on Monday morning, lamented that the implementation board inaugurated to implement the recommendations of the Technical Committee set up by the Lagos State government has been stalled due to bureaucracy.
Asked what was the way of out of incessant building collapse, Mr. Awobodu said: â€œThe way out of this problem is to engage professional builders to monitor construction sites so that when such buildings collapse, the professionals will be held responsibleâ€.
On the possible cause of the collapse, he said the collapse was due to use of sub-standard building materials, poor workmanship and lack of maintenance. He added that the foundation of the building was brittle and the house could no longer weather the storm.
11,000 rural dwellers benefit from ambulance boat services
No fewer than 11,000 people resident in five local government areas of Lagos State have benefitted from the Free Ambulance Boat Services, a riverine rural health programme designed to improve healthcare services at deprived reverine rural areas.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris who disclosed this while rectifying the report of rural health programme, noted that the state government established the rural health programme in 2002Â not only to improve the delivery of primary healthcare services to these deprived areas, especially the riverine areas of the state but also in response to inadequate and lack of access to health care at these areas
He pointed out that the programme was designed to detect asymptomatic and undiagnosed cases of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes as well as treat minor ailments in addition to free distribution of drugs to beneficiaries, adding that the programme has enhanced good health referrals system between riverine communities and corresponding local government areas and local council development areas health facilities as patients found to be hypertensive or diabetic during such services are referred to the nearest General Hospitals for further investigation and management.
The Commissioner stated that since the launch of the Ambulance Boat Service Programme, access to riverine areas has been greatly improved as 51 communities spread across six local governments and local council development areas, including Amuwo Odofin, Oriade, Ojo, Eti-Osa, and Ikorodu have been covered as at June this year.
He recalled that 684 people recently benefitted from the services rendered by the ambulance boat at Tomaro, Agara 1, Shiku and Onigbongbo riverine areas in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area with no fewer than 361 children being
vaccinatedÂ and 324 people treated for minor ailments and given free drugs, adding that other services provided include free eye screening and treatment, including provision of eye glasses, immunization of children and environmental/health education.