THE Lagos State Government said the developer of the three-storey building which collapsed on Saturday in Yaba resumed construction on the site without authorisation after it was sealed on two occasions.
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development Idris Salako disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
“Preliminary findings indicated that the site had been sealed off twice by the Lagos State Building Control Agency in 2021 for non-compliance with building regulations, after which the site was abandoned.
“However, the developer later broke the government seal, sneaked into the site and recommenced construction without official authorisation. The developer in charge of the site has since been arrested and handed over to the police, while rescue operation is ongoing,” Salako said.
Residents react in shock
The building collapsed around 3:00 pm with some labourers working on the site.
Eyewitnesses who spoke with The ICIR said five workers were in the building when it collapsed, but only one was rescued alive, but without limbs and with lots of bruises.
Some residents believe more victims could probably have been rescued alive if emergency responders had arrived at the accident scene early.
Our reporter saw policemen and officials of the Red Cross and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) at the scene of the building on Sunday morning.
John Larr, who lost a brother in the collapse, said he had left him when going to work only to find him dead when he returned.
Larr said, “I come from Plateau State to work in Lagos. I was with my brother before leaving for my place of work when I received a call that he was in the collapsed building. He was a security personnel there and was the last dead person to be brought out of the rubble last night. He had worked on the site for a year. Our senior brother is coming and we will request to see the owner of the building. We have not heard from the state governor and other agencies.”
A resident on the street, Gbayo Samson, said, “The excavators didn’t come until 8: 00 pm. I carried out my generator and ordered cutting discs so we can be clearing slab by slab. You can see the layers.”
The effort, Samson said, paid off in locating one of the trapped workers, who could barely speak. Samson, interacting with the lawmaker representing Lagos Mainland II in the House of Assembly, Olanrewaju Oshun, wished that more efforts were put into the rescue mission.
The building failed integrity tests – Resident
Another resident, Oluwashina Ayomide, told The ICIR that the building failed integrity tests. “It is a new building but it has been having cracks. Every time they poured concrete, it fell to the other side. It is only one person that survived and his legs were broken. The only person that was nice to me in that building was Monday and he is dead now.”
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said emergency workers would continue to comb the rubble to see if anyone could still be brought out alive.
This latest building crash occurred barely four months after the collapse of a 21-storey building that claimed the lives of 45 persons on Gerrard Road, in the Ikoyi area of the state.
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