…Agony, as hospital bars victims’ relations
…Woman ‘resurrects’, walks out of debris
By Evelyn Usman
Lagos—Death toll in last Friday’s collapsed five-storey building used as guest house by the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, in Ikotun area of Lagos, hits 63 yesterday with the recovery of additional 14 corpses, even as relations of victims were barred from entering the Isolo General Hospital wards to ascertain whether their loved ones were on admission. The relations were asked by health workers to obtain clearance from SCON before they could be allowed in.
The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, said yesterday that the 63rd body was recovered at 8.15pm adding that sniffer dogs aided yesterday’s recoveries.
However, in a clear case of providence at play, a woman reportedly walked out of the debris of the collapsed building all by herself at about 2 am yesterday, with only a broken wrist. This brings the total number of survivors to 131.
Besides, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, yesterday said it had commenced investigation into the quality of the materials used for the collapsed building.
The organisation said it had been able to identify manufacturers of the building materials used for the construction, adding that the next step would be to ascertain whether they were of approved specification or not.
The dark complexioned woman, with an undisclosed identity, that walked out of the debris, was said to have been heard shouting in a faint voice; ‘’Thank you Jesus’’ before she was carried by some rescuers on standby into a waiting ambulance.
When Vanguard arrived the scene yesterday, members of SCOAN were seen discussing the woman’s miraculous escape from the claws of death.
The South West spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, said the woman was the only living person among those recovered yesterday.
He said: “A woman of about 45 years old walked out of the rubble on her own around 2am today (yesterday). This brings the total of persons rescued alive from the debris to 131,while we have 62 persons dead”
A breakdown of the figure so far, showed that three dead bodies were recovered on the first day (Friday), of the collapse, with 15 persons rescued alive. Next day, Saturday, the number of those rescued rose to 124, while the dead was put at 17.
On Sunday, September 15, six persons were rescued alive, thereby increasing the number of those rescued to 130 while the death toll rose to 45.
Two additional dead bodies were recovered under the debris on Monday, with the death toll hitting 49. On the other hand, four persons were rescued alive bringing the figure to 130.
However, the death toll rose to 62, yesterday, with an additional recovery of 13 dead bodies. Seven of them were women, two teenagers and and three men.
As at 6.30pm, rescue work was still ongoing, even though NEMA assured Monday, that it would be concluded yesterday.
As at the time of this report, excavation work was said to have reached the first floor, believed to have been occupied by visitors.
When Vanguard visited Isolo General Hospital, three women who claimed to have travelled all the way from Ghana, Rivers and Imo states, respectively, said they were there to ascertain whether their relatives were among those hospitalised.
According to one o f the women who gave her name as Mrs Kwabena: ‘’My niece, Mrs Frimpong Komla, told us she was travelling to Nigeria to attend a healing programme at SCOAN which we usually watch on television.
‘’Since she left, nothing has been heard from her . When news of the collapse filtered in Sunday, I decided to come and check for myself because my niece is a widow and also childless.
‘’I came into Lagos yesterday (Monday) but could not locate the church until this morning. I joined some people who said they were coming to this hospital to check if their missing loved ones are here. But to my surprise, we were asked to go and get a letter from the church before we would be allowed to go inside the ward.”
SON begins investigation
Meanwhile, SON yesterday said it had begun investigation into the immediate cause of the collapsed five-storey building.
Part of the investigation, according to the organisation’s Head, Inspectorate and Compliance, Engr. Bede Obaye, was to ascertain whether the building materials used for the construction were within the standard specification.
Obaye, who made this disclosure during a visit to the scene yesterday, revealed that the organisation had been able to identify manufacturers of the materials used.