…Our son was reluctant to go to school on fateful day, says LASTMA official as parents relive ordeal
By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Monsuru Olowoopejo
Barely 24 hours after pull ing down four defective buildings, Lagos State government, yesterday, demolished another three buildings that posed threat to lives and property.
Recall that Lagos State government, Friday, commenced the demolition exercise in which four defective buildings were demolished to prevent loss of lives.
The exercise is a fallout of the collapse of a three-storey building at Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island, on Wednesday, killing 20 children and adults.
The state government, through the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, began the demolition on the order of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
LASBCA officials, who were escorted by armed task force officials, yesterday, stormed Ojo Giwa, Okediji and Seriki Streets on the Island to demolish the defective buildings.
Some of the buildings demolished included a three-storey building on 33 Ojo Giwa, which residents claimed could cave in any moment, because the pillars and other alignments on the buildings were already giving way.
At 34, Seriki Street, another defective three-storey building was pulled down by LASBCA officials, while at 21, Okediji Street, a three-storey building was also demolished.
The Acting General Manager, LASBCA, Omotayo Fakoluju, said 150 identified defective buildings had been marked for demolition on the Island, but 30 had already been demolished in the last one year, while 80 would now be demolished in phases.
The Acting GM also disclosed that 20 of the 80 buildings earmarked for demolition were on Adeniji Adele, saying that the agency would no longer look back but ensure that distressed buildings were pulled down immediately.
Fakoluyu disclosed that lots of buildings on the Island had been marked for demolition, but that some of them were subject of litigation which prevented government from going ahead to pull them down immediately.
“Over 80 buildings are ready for removal but we shall be removing them in phases. In buildings which are subject of litigation, we try to evacuate the occupants from the buildings so that there will not be loss of lives,” he said.
Victims’ parents narrate experience
Meanwhile, Olawusi Abideen, father of Rukibat Olawusi, a seven-year-old survivor, told Sunday Vanguard: “My heart is sore at this moment. I lost my 3-year-old daughter in the collapsed building but my eldest daughter, Rukiat, 7, survived.
“When they brought out my 3-year-old daughter from the debris, I thought she was asleep and not dead because there was no bruise on her. She must have died as a result of shock.
“After she was confirmed dead, we had to bury her immediately. Her mother is still in shock. But we thank God for sparing our eldest daughter, Rukiat. We didn’t know that the building had been marked for demolition by Lagos State government . If we had known, we would not have enlisted our children in the school. We were impressed with the quality of learning in the school before we enlisted them in the school.”
Mrs Taofikat Liasu, mother of Oluwatishe Liasu, 4-year-old survivor, said: “My son Oluwatise, 4, and his cousin, Kiwiat Liasu, 3, both survived . The grandmother whom they were living with said they were reluctant to go to school that fateful day but we thank God both survived the tragedy and they are responding to treatment accordingly”.
Mr. Owolabi Saheed, a Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, official and father of Ayomide Owolabi, 4, on his part, narrated: “Ayomide was so reluctant to go to school but I persuaded him with chocolate and fruit juice. On our way to school, I asked him why he was reluctant to go to school and he said it was because his Aunty frequently flogged him.
But when I got to the school, I complained to the Head Teacher, Mrs Easter, who later died in the incident, over the report and she assured she would address the situation.
“But to my surprise, against his usual character, my son did not wave back to me when I was leaving and that got me more worried. I was at my duty post at Tom Jones, Lagos Island, when my wife called me to say that the school building had collapsed. I had to rush down and, thank God, he survived it.”