By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Bose Adelaja & Esther Onyegbula
LAGOS—ANOTHER three-storey building on 55B Kakawa street Lagos Island, collapsed, yesterday, barely two weeks after a similar incident which left over 15 people dead, including pupils of a private Nursery and Primary school along Massey area of Lagos.
However, no life was lost, yesterday, as the occupants were said to have been evacuated from the distressed building a week before it caved in.
But one person was injured and is currently receiving treatment in Lagos Island General Hospital.
The injured woman whose identity could not be ascertained lives adjacent the collapsed building.
The incident, Vanguard gathered, occurred at about 12 noon
Vanguard also gathered that the building was marked for demolition about a month ago by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LSBCA, after it was certified as distressed.
Though, as at 4.pm yesterday, removal of the debris by the response team was yet to commence but owners of some shops on the ground floor of the building were seen salvaging some of their goods from the wreckage.
10 families rendered homeless
In the aftermath of the incident, about 10 families were rendered homeless, especially those on 50A, as their rooms were affected.
There were visible cracks on the building, apparently as a result of the impact of the collapsed building beside it.
As at 3.30pm, some of them were seen salvaging their property.
One of them, Mrs Abiola Adio said the incident had rendered them homeless, wondering where her family would pass the night.
Victims recount ordeal
Narrating her ordeal, 43-year-old boutique owner on the ground floor of the collapsed building, Muruitalia Ajeise, said: “I was inside my shop when the incident happened at about 12 noon. We were told to vacate the building but I had started moving my wares out of the building when the incident occurred.”
On her part, Mrs. Blessing Nwafor, who also owns one of the shops in the affected building, said she had premonition of the incident and sought the advice of a neighbor, who discouraged her from moving her things out.
Another shop owner, simply identified as Samtraco, was said to be undergoning treatment over an unknown ailment for some months. Consequently, he was unable to evacuate his goods from the shop before the building caved in.
Building already marked for demolition — LASG
Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State, Central Business District, Prince Olarewaju Eleguishi, who was at the scene, said: “It is a building already marked for demolition by the state government. It is a four floor building. It was marked for demolition about a week ago. We have a lot of marked buildings and we have started the demolition. It is not easy to demolish a building but we are working on them at the moment. We have four teams on ground, working.”
Rescue agencies on ground
Agencies on ground to ensure safety of lives and property include: Men of the Police, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Lagos Fire Service, Officials of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, LABSCA, Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, LSNSC, among others.
The site of the building has been sealed for safety.
Govt relocates affected occupants
Meantime, as part of efforts to provide succour to victims of collapsed and demolished buildings on Lagos Island, the State Government will today, commence the relocation of affected residents to the State Relief/Resettlement Centre Igando in Alimosho Local Government Area.
Speaking during a tour of the Resettlement Centre in Igando, Alimosho Local Government Area, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, stated that Governor Akinwumi Ambode had directed that those affected as a result of the ongoing demolition of defective buildings be resettled at the Relief Centre in line with international best practices.
To this end, Bamigbetan stated that the LASEMA’s Resettlement Camp/Relief Centre was ready to accommodate no fewer than 500 displaced persons from today.
Also speaking, the General Manager of LASEMA, Adesina Tiamiyu, said that the camp would be opened for three months after which government would review the need for an extension.
Tiamiyu added that a medical team would arrive at the Resettlement Centre to ascertain the health status of those affected, while the Igando General Hospital would handle referrals from the Camp.
He said: “The Igando Resettlement Camp has facilities to provide relief for affected victims, including those living with disabilities.”
LASG urges occupants of distressed buildings to relocate
Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has urged occupants of marked distressed buildings across the state to immediately vacate them pending the arrival of the demolition team from the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA.
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye made the appeal yesterday.
Speaking on yesterday’s collapsed building, Ogunleye said: “The building in question had been identified as distressed by officers of the LASBCA and all the necessary statutory notices had been duly served. It was one of the defective structures marked for removal by the Agency.
“Fortunately, occupants had been evacuated before the incidents occurred. Immediately, the Lagos State Rescue Team and LASBCA were alerted and they moved to site promptly to check all adjoining buildings so as to evacuate the occupants to avoid any further hazards.”
“Already 25 buildings have been removed by LASBCA as government has stepped up measures to rid the State of distressed buildings, so as to prevent loss of lives and property due to sudden collapse in the state.”