At least 16 persons were rescued and several others feared dead after a four-storey building collapsed in Lagos on Tuesday. Residents said the building was structurally defective, adding that a telecommunication mast was erected on the building two weeks ago.
Five children and 10 adults have been rescued as at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. At least five persons were still trapped under the rubble.
Residents said a food vendor on the ground floor escaped by the whiskers but her employees and customers who were eating were among those trapped. It was gathered that the woman stepped out of the shop few minutes before it caved in.
Another woman identified as Iya Ibeji was said to be under the rubble with her four kids. Residents said two other female traders were under the rubble.
Although operatives of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) got to the scene early, the crowd prevented them from carrying out their duty. The crowd also threatened to deal with journalists recording the incident.
The Nation observed that the crowd, which turned down all entreaties from rescuers to leave the site, cut the ribbon used to cordon off the scene. Policemen and operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were unable to control the crowd as they turned to spectators. Emergency workers also had difficulty rescuing trapped victims due to proximity of the structure to the neighbouring buildings.
At the time of filing this report, escavation had commenced and one of the structures near the collapsed building had been brought down. Electric poles around the structures were also pulled down.
LASEMA’s General Manager, Adesina Tiamiyu, who led rescuers to the scene, said over 10 victims have been rescued. He insisted that their primary focus was to save lives, appealing to the crowd to allow emergency workers do their jobs.
He said: “Honestly, it will be inappropriate for me to grant any interview now because people are trapped under the rubble. Besides, I can’t give you any statistics yet. I know that over 10 persons have been rescued.
“You can see how tense the environment is. The people are not cooperating and I wouldn’t want to add more tension by upsetting them. I will grant interviews when we are sure no one is trapped underneath the debris.”