TWO children have died while three adults were injured from the impact of a water tank that crashed on a one-bedroom apartment at Adeleye Street, Ladilak, in the Bariga area of Lagos State.
The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, confirming the incident today, said the incident occurred on Sunday, August 21, 2022.
Oke-Osanyintolu said, “The agency activated its response to the above incident and upon arrival at the incident scene, discovered that the tank scaffolding of a two-storey building collapsed on a bungalow beside it and affected two rooms.
“Unfortunately, two children died from the impact. Three adult males sustained injuries and were taken to nearby hospitals.”
When The ICIR visited the area today, many of the residents were still in shock at the incident.
Giving a background of what occurred, the residents told The ICIR that workers renovating a house had constructed a structure holding three water tanks on top of a septic tank. Yesterday, when the bricklayers were not around, the water tanks fell over the fence, with one of them crashing into a one-bedroom apartment in the next building.
One of the three males in the apartment escaped unhurt, while two other men and a woman suffered serious injuries. The collapse of the water tank on the one-bedroom apartment obstructed a small pathway between both buildings.
A resident in the area, Ismail Abdul, said the incident occurred at about 8pm of Sunday, August 21, 2022, adding that his brother witnessed it and ran to tell residents of the community about the matter.
He said, “My brother was there and came to tell us. The water tank fell from one house and collapsed on top of the one-bedroom apartment. In that room where the tank fell over, four people were there. Only one escaped. Two men and small children with the younger brother of the woman were affected.”
Ismail said the woman was saved but her arms and legs were broken. He explained that the reason why the water tank fell on the one-bedroom apartment was because it was placed on a septic tank. He added that the renovation of the other house had been ongoing for three months before the tank fell.
“At the end, they called the state government to respond. They removed the bodies after the end of the rescue,” he said.
One of the neighbours of the injured woman, Areoshola Lawrence, a commercial motorcycle rider, said he heard voices screaming for help between 9 and 10 pm of the previous day and that was how he discovered the injured woman and her dead children.
“It made me run out with my children. I tried to rescue the person who was screaming for help. When I got there, the woman had fractures on her arms and legs and her two children were dead because the tank hit them,” he narrated.
Another neighbour, Adodo Friday said about six people were involved in the incident. The condition of the injured woman was unknown as some unconfirmed reports from the residents proclaimed her dead or was in a state of shock.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Gbolahan Oki, condemned the spate of building collapse in the state and urged the residents to always look out for distressed buildings whose owners have been told to halt construction operations. Oki disclosed that the developer of the two-storey was still at large, and LASBCA was hoping to nail him for negligence.
He said, “We need to talk to each other, we need to be on the same page. Nobody is saying they should not build houses, but let them do the right thing. The building control agency has been here severally to warn them to get their planning permits. Majority of the things the government needs to do had been done.
“It behoves on the community to communicate to each other and do the right thing.”
Altered quit notices
Shortly after the LASBCA boss left, checks showed that the building control agency did not give a prior warning, as Oki had claimed when he was addressing the residents.
The LASBCA chief had said the building agency had been there to serve permits. However, a quick observation showed that the date on which the warning was served was today, August 22, 2022, and not August 19, 2022. The notice was altered by the use of a pen, as shown in the photo below.
Oki had used that opportunity to tackle the developer for building a structure that allegedly caused harm.
He said, “The man that caused this matter is somewhere in a hotel sleeping and eating. The family that has the problem now are in pain. The woman is in the hospital, the children and everything are gone. All because we left what we should have done undone. Let’s help each other and help the government. It is not about money.”
Residents given seven-day quit notice
Residents who live in the vicinity of the incident said they had been served quit notices to vacate their apartments.
Most of them, who are staying in one-room apartments, told journalists at the scene that they did not cause the tragedy, and had nowhere to go after being served the emergency quit notice.
Lawrence, a tenant in a N7,000 per month one-room apartment, told The ICIR that he had nowhere else to go, especially as the Lagos State government had banned commercial motorcycle operations in Bariga, the local council development area where the incident happened.
He said, “We thank God because the building next to our house is the one that was affected. Now, the government has given us seven days to exit the house. I am an okada rider who just paid his rent. I heard of the extension of the okada ban to more local government areas. Now, they have given us till September 1 to evacuate and I don’t know where to move my family to.”
He and a fellow tenant there, Uche, a tricycle rider, begged the authorities to let them have their homes for now as they had nowhere to go.