Quantcast
Connect with us

Dozens of children attending an ‘illegal school’ trapped in collapsed Lagos residential building

Published

on

Dozens of children were among scores of people feared trapped on Wednesday after a four-storey building collapsed in Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos, rescuers told AFP, with at least four dead bodies pulled from the rubble.

The children were attending an “illegal school” inside the residential building when the structure collapsed, officials said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Dozens of children were trapped inside,” said Adesina Tiamiyu, head of Lagos state emergency management agency (SEMA), which is supervising the rescue operation.

So far, emergency workers had pulled 40 people alive from the rubble, some of them badly injured, he said.

But they had also recovered “more than four dead bodies”, Tiamiyu said without giving an exact figure.

Police said they believed scores of people were trapped under the rubble of the building which collapsed mid-morning in an area near Itafaji market on Lagos Island.

“We are getting additional cranes to be able to go deeper than where we are now to rescue more lives,” said Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

And he promised a full investigation, pledging there would be “punishment” for anyone found responsible for the building’s collapse.

 AFP / Sophie RAMIS Building collapse in Lagos

In chaotic scenes, panicked parents, local residents and shocked onlookers rushed to the area as police, firemen and medics staged a massive rescue operation.

It was not immediately clear how many people were inside when the building foundered.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rescuers stressed there were no exact figures for the dead or injured, but one health official said 20 people had been taken to hospital.

– Blood and dust –

“We are still trying to find out how many are trapped inside,” said police officer Seun Ariwyo, who said there were probably scores.

ADVERTISEMENT

A young man helping rescue efforts who gave his name only as Derin said “at least 10 children” were trapped inside but “thought to be alive”.

An AFP reporter at the scene saw at least eight people pulled from the wreckage, including a small boy with blood on his face.

Covered in dust, he was alive but unconscious and appeared to be badly hurt.

ADVERTISEMENT

One local resident who witnessed the moment of collapse said there was no warning.

“We were smoking outside when the building just collapsed,” Olamide Nuzbah told AFP in pidgin English.

– Distraught parents –

As rescuers worked furiously to reach those inside, distraught parents begged them to find their children.

 AFP / SEGUN OGUNFEYITIMI Emergency and rescue personnel have been trying to find survivors

“Please, save my child, save my child!” wept one traumatised mother whose seven-year-old daughter was trapped inside, as people tried to console her.

ADVERTISEMENT

School bags, toys and clothes could be seen among the piles of rubble as a bulldozer tried to clear a path through some of the wreckage to help the rescue efforts.

As the day wore on, an AFP correspondent saw several children being brought out, at least one of whom appeared to be dead.

Elsewhere, hundreds of local residents tried to help, passing water and helmets through to dust-covered rescuers working tirelessly to sift through the rubble, some of whom appeared to be distressed.

Many locals told AFP that the building, which was in an advanced state of disrepair, had been “earmarked” for demolition by the authorities in Lagos state.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is a residential building that was actually accommodating an illegal school,” said Ambode, the state governor, confirming that most buildings in the area had been marked for demolition but saying some landlords had defied the move.

“We get resistance from landlords but we must continue to save lives,” he said, pledging to step up measures against all structures that failed to meet the correct standards, saying they would be “quickly evacuated” and demolished.

Lagos, which has a population of 20 million people, is made up of a collection of islands.

 AFP / SEGUN OGUNFEYITIMI The incident took place near Itafaji market on Lagos Island, a densely-populated area which is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods

One of them is Lagos Island, a densely-populated area which is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods.

It is characterised by its Afro-Brazilian architecture, a style brought over by thousands of freed slaves who headed back home after decades working the plantations in Brazil.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Tragically common –

Despite efforts to renovate the area, a large number of abandoned buildings have been taken over by families or businesses, despite being dilapidated and unsafe.

Building collapses are tragically common in Nigeria, where building regulations are routinely flouted.

In September 2014, 116 people died — 84 of them South Africans — when a six-storey building collapsed in Lagos where a celebrity televangelist was preaching.

An inquiry found it had structural flaws and had been built illegally.

ADVERTISEMENT

And two years later, at least 60 people were killed when the roof collapsed at a church in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state, in the east of the country.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Steve Schmidt breaks down why Joe Biden should be an ‘easy’ choice for moderate Republicans

Published

on

On MSNBC Friday, former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt criticized Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) claim that she was struggling over whether to support the president — and laid out why she should unequivocally decide she doesn't.

"We saw the president direct violence against peaceful protesters this week, and seen the president lie to the country nearly 20,000 times," said Schmidt. "We've seen the president divide the country and incite violence. And we've seen a level of ineptitude in this historic pandemic that defied description, but included standing in front of the nation when tens of thousands are dead, talking about his ratings or telling the American people that it is a good idea to ingest or household disinfectants. We've seen a president preside over the shattering of an economy. We have seen a president race-bait, demean, disgrace his office, to desecrate the bonds of affection that exist between us as Americans."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Jeb Bush wonders why Republicans are not ‘stepping up’ to condemn racism

Published

on

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) wondered on Friday why more Republicans were not standing publicly against racism.

"I have said it before and I will say it again now: the GOP must not tolerate racism. Of any kind. At any time," his son, George P. Bush, the Texas Land Commissioner posted on Twitter.

He urged local GOP officials in Texas to resign for sharing racist posts on Facebook.

Jeb Bush praised the post.

"Proud of my son," he posted on Twitter.

"Are other Republican elected officials stepping up?" he wondered.

https://twitter.com/JebBush/status/1269057568015605761

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Not appropriate at all’: GOP senator admits it was wrong to gas protesters for Trump’s photo-op

Published

on

The decision to gas protesters so President Donald Trump could hold a photo-op holding a Bible were criticized by a Republican senator on Friday as cracks start to emerge in Republicans' support for the president.

"As you know, outside the White House when protesters were peacefully exercising their rights, there were rubber bullets and tear gas, they were disbursed so he could go for the pictures, the photo-op at the church," CNN's Erin Burnett reported.

She noted criticism by former General Mattis and asked Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) if he agreed.

"I would say no question the scene that I understand occurred there with the tear gas and rubber bullets was unnecessary, not appropriate at all," he replied.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image