By Monsur Olowoopejo, Ocholi Sarah & Abah Comfort
LAGOS—Four children, including three siblings, were injured when a three-storey building located on 30 Osasa Street, in Bariga area of Lagos, partially collapsed on Sunday.
Owner of the building, identified as Pa Ayilara, also sustained injury. At press time, rescue work was still ongoing by operators from various emergency agents, including the Police.
The siblings—Taiwo, Kehinde and Idowu Oluwagbemiga— Vanguard gathered, were playing Ludo game on the building’s balcony when it collapsed.
Aside the siblings, 10-year-old twins and their seven-year-old brother, it was learned that over 30 occupants of the collapsed building were displaced after the building partially collapsed at about 9:30p.m.
While some residents claimed that the facilities used recently for the construction of the street weakened the building, others alleged that the building was already marked as defective.
A resident, Mr. Gbadamosi Taiwo, who explained that residents were jolted by the deafening sound at about 10p.m. on Sunday, said the building had been distressed with crack lines evident on its parts for a while.
He said: “My building is adjacent the affected one. We were outside when it happened. We immediately rushed to the scene and rescued some of the tenants before rescue operators arrived and brought out more persons.
“Yes, the building had cracks. Its owner had planned to work on the section that had cracks before the incident happened.”
‘How my children became main victims’
Father of the injured siblings, Yakubu Oluwagbemiga, disclosed that his three children were at a private hospital receiving treatment.
He explained that “on Sunday night when there was power outage, I told my children to go and play at the balcony where they could enjoy fresh air. They were playing Ludo game when the portion of the building they were on collapsed.”
He disclosed that the children were rescued from the rubble by the state government rescue team, including Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, and residents.
His words: “We immediately rushed them to Gbagada General Hospital, but they said there was no space. So we had to bring them back to a hospital nearby where they are currently receiving treatment.
“Government should please help us because we are now stranded. The building has been barricaded; we are still on the clothes we wore when the incident occurred.”
Director-General, LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, who confirmed the incident, said: “The Agency received the distress call at about 9.30p.m. On arrival at the scene, it was discovered that the building partially collapsed, injuring four children: two girls(twins) and a boy (Idowu) of the same parents and another boy.
“Further investigation revealed that the building had some cracks on the section that collapsed. The landlord, who initially refused all entreaties to be moved out, was later taken to Gbagada General Hospital.
“The building was condoned off after all the residents had been evacuated by the emergency responders.”
Dr. Oke-Osanyintolu advised the owner of the structure to ensure holistic assessment was carried out by the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LABSCA, before any repairs would be carried out on it.
Lagos State Fire Service Public Education Officer, Amodu Shakiru, stated that fire service men arrived the area immediately the information was received.
He, however, lamented that the officials could not access the scene in the fire service trucks, owing to double parking and bad road. Officials, according to him, had to walk on foot to the scene for rescue operation, before the vehicles parked on the street were removed.
Other rescue operators at the scene included the Police, Lagos State Ambulance Service, LASAMBUS, and Red Cross.
Buildings to undergo test
Meanwhile, worried by the spate of building collapse in the state, Acting General Manager of LASBCA, Bodunrin Oki, has directed that owners of buildings above five years should subject them to a non-destructive test, NDT.
Oki gave the directives after inspecting the site of the collapsed building, arguing that the over 54 years building collapsed due to structural failures.
He explained that the building was one of several in the built-up area which the Agency monitoring team had captured and served notices to undergo NDT at the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory, MTL, to ascertain the status of the building.
He assured that the agency would intensify efforts to sanitise the state of all distressed and illegal buildings that were not in conformity with the building laws.