…35 persons rescued, several others trapped
By Evelyn Usman, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS —A four-storey building collapsed at the early hours of Wednesday in Idumota/Ebute Ero area of Lagos, killing at least 18 persons.
Report said over 35 persons were rescued from the debris while an unspecified number were, at press time, still trapped under the debris.
An eyewitness who worked with the rescue team told our correspondent that 18 corpses were recovered from the debris and were taken to Agoro mosque in Idumota.
He, however, did not explain why the corpses were taken to the mosque instead of the mortuary.
Among the casualties were persons from two different families, including children and women. The building, located at 4, Mogaji Lane, comprising several apartments and shops was reportedly constructed 10 years ago.
Trouble started at about midnight, following a deafening sound which left the occupants in the dark. Some of them, particularly those on the ground floor, managed to escape. Among them were a man, his wife and their two-month-old baby.
Youths in the area were said to have started rescue work where some of the trapped persons were rescued.
Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Agency, LASEMA, State Mobile Ambulance personnel who later arrived the scene reportedly rescued about 30 persons including Secretary of Community Development Association (CDA), Mr. Tajudeen Adeyemi and his wife.
National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and policemen also joined in the rescue work.
Some of the rescued victims were rushed to the Lagos Island and Gbagada General Hospitals, while corpses were deposited at mortuaries and some taken away by their respective families.
The residents, however, blamed the late arrival of rescue operators for the cause of the loss of lives, arguing that if there had been quick response, perhaps no one would have died.
General Manager, LASEMA, Dr. Oluwafemi Osanyintolu, however put the number of those that lost their lives at eight, adding that 35 persons have been rescued with five receiving treatment in government hospitals.
On his part, State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Wale Ahmed described the incident as a tragedy, expressing regrets that such incident still occurred in spite of the state government’s effort at sensitizing residents to report defective buildings to it
However when contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Samuel Jinadu, said only three persons died while 23 were rescued.