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Lagos collapsed building: Rescue operations set to end, unofficial report says 41 rescued, 16 dead

RESCUE operations at the collapsed three-storey building in Lagos State will end on Thursday, according to officials of the  Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

The residential building which collapsed on Wednesday had a nursery/primary school in one of the floors, and some of the persons affected were children and teenagers.

Speaking with journalists on Thursday, Adesina Tiamiyu, the General Manager of LASEMA, said the rescue operation has gotten to ground zero. He, however, declined to give a specific figure of casualties, saying the agency would issue an official statement later.

However, Premium Times quoted residents of the area who also monitored the rescue process as saying that 41 persons had been rescued, while 16 were said to have died.

Earlier on Thursday, residents of the area had insisted that the rescue operations should not be ended even though LASEMA officials said they had reached the basement of the building and were convinced that nobody else is trapped therein.

One victim was said to have been rescued in the night of Wednesday, March 13.

The LASEMA boss, Tiamiyu, said the rescue operations have ended. “It is not yet official but operations have ended,” Premium Times quoted him as saying.

Governor Akinwumi Ambode, who visited the scene of the incident said the building was quite old and that the school structure was not approved by the government, but he added that an investigation would be conducted into the circumstances that led to the collapse of the building.

According to residents in the area, the school located on the second floor of the collapsed building was known simply as Aunty Esther School, perhaps named after the proprietress, Esther Johnson.

Twelve out of the 16 victims of the collapsed building were pupils of the nursery/primary school, witnesses say. One of them of Fawad Ayoola, a six-year-old pupil, whose body was pulled from the rubble and had been buried at the Ikoyi Cemetry in accordance with Islamic Rites.

“I don’t think I can sleep tonight. My late son and I did almost everything together; we ate together, prayed together, spent time discussing. I was introducing him to life because he was my eldest child,” Fawad’s father, Abdulfatah told journalists who visited his residence located not far from the scene of the incident.

“God gives and takes, we cannot question Him. All I need to do now is pray for him (and) console the mother. I know of a family who lost four of their children in the building, what will be their fate? Praise be to Allah for everything,” he said amidst sobs.

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