By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Evelyn Usman & Bose Adelaja

LAGOS – As Lagos residents were making last preparations on New Year’s eve to usher in a fresh year, tragedy struck again, after a two-storey building under construction collapsed in  Oshodi Local Government Area of  Lagos State, killing four persons.

Several other persons also sustained varying degree of injuries. The condition of three of the wounded persons could not be immediately ascertained as they were said to be in the Intensive Care Unit of an undisclosed hospital.

Report said those affected were construction workers and food vendors. Most of them were said to have taken the day off with the hope of  continuing  work yesterday. Those  that were affected were said to be sleeping on the slab.

Those that survived were reportedly bringing in blocks which they wanted to use on the second slab.

Rescue work by residents of Popoola Olafuyi Street began immediately, where they succeeded in rescuing one person from the debris before the arrival of officials of the Lagos State Emergency Agency LASEMA, the Lagos State Fire Service and policemen.

The first rescued victim who simply gave his name as Ishola had bruises all over his hands and shoulder. Unable to speak, he just pointed at the rubble, indicating that his colleagues were still under. He was rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Telephone calls from those trapped were reportedly received where they made appeal for quick rescue. One of them whose name was given as Baba Afeez was said to have requested for water.

General Manager of LASEMA, Mr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, who was on ground, said they were able to  locate some trapped victims with the aid of an instrument known as  DELSA.

Describing the incident as unfortunate, Oke-Osanyintolu said the Lagos State government was revoking the land title from the owner, adding that two persons were rescued on Saturday

The collapsed building.

Rescue work continues

Meanwhile, most of the rescue work continued yesterday with relatives of some of the victims wailing. Eye witnesses said victims were still trapped under the rubble. But Oke-Osanyintolu said there was no sign of anybody trapped.

At about 11 a.m., the body of a teenager was brought out of the rubble. The deceased was identified as Yusuf, a Junior Secondary School 2 student.

At about 5.30p.m. when Vanguard visited the scene, sympathisers still thronged the scene, insisting there were still victims under the debris.

Reacting to their claim,

Oke-Osanyintolu said,  “as I am talking to you now, rescue work is still ongoing but there are no signs of any person still trapped under the rubble. We are on top of the situation.

“So far, three mortalities and three causalities were recorded. They are currently receiving medical treatment at an hospital and are responding to treatment.”

Defective structure

A Deputy Director from the Lagos State Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Adekunle Rufia, who led officials from the ministry on rescue mission said the collapse was caused by a defective structure which was not capable of carrying the weight of the additional structure being added by the developers.

According to him,”we discovered that the building was raised to the first storey since the last three years. Work just commenced on the second slab and it was this development that forced the structure to collapse.”

He said one of the victims that sustained broken arm had been treated and discharged while the other victims were rushed to a nearby hospital.

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