Within the mid hours of the 13th of March 2018, news of the collapse of a four storey residential building housing a primary school on one of its floors at Ita Faaji, Lagos Island broke out. What ensued afterwards were frantic rescue operations by bystanders and members of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, the Police, National Emergency Management Agency with the hopes of saving as many lines as possible.
The problem of improper construction and utilization of poor construction materials in Nigeria have overtime made tragic events such as this quite commonplace. For those who may be unfamiliar with the issues surrounding the collapse or struggling to find useful information here’s a quick explainer with crucial pieces of information and facts made available to the public as at the time of writing this article.
Cause of the Collapse
Speaking on behalf of the General Manager Lagos State Building Control Agency Engineer Olalekan Shodeinde, Mr. Taiwo Fakolujo communicated to the press that the over 20 year- old collapsed structure was marked as distressed as far back as 2017. The building, which was to the knowledge of the agency previously inhabited, was then renovated by the owner using gravel in place of granite without any checks. According to him, the reason for the collapse was due to the foundation of the structure giving out which in turn was caused by the weight being passed down from the additional pent house.
In a statement to Channels TV, Folake, a neighbourhood resident had expressed concerns about the structure “A few days ago, I went to deliver a message for a brother who runs a betting shop a few streets away. As I climbed the staircase, my heart was skipping because it felt like the building was falling apart. It has a lot of elderly people, asides the school”
Casualties and Survivors
As reported by Punch News, about 45 survivors of the collapse taken to the Lagos Island General Hospital are currently in stable condition. Regarding the casualties of the incident varying estimates have come about within the past 24 hours from different sources making it difficult to give a credible estimate. However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Elkana Bala, reported 50 pupils and eight tenants had been rescued, stating that only the medical personnel could ascertain their state of health and the number of the dead.
The governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode expressed his sympathy to the victims and spoke of ensuring a thorough investigations. He said “this is unfortunate but we will investigate what has happened and also see the punishment for whoever are the culprits. That is the secondary level but the most important thing right now is to save lives and I just appeal to people that they should give us the chance to save more lives”. The Governor also made promises to foot the bills of the victims.
Through a statement via the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, President Muhammadu Buhari consoled with the families of the victims and Lagos State “It touches one to lose precious lives in any kind of incident, particularly those so young and tender. May God grant everyone affected by this sad incident fortitude and succour,”
In the same vain, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara expressed their deep sadness.