Rescue operations have been intensified after five bodies have been recovered in rubble of a 21-storey building that collapsed in Ikoyi-Lagos, Nigeria on Monday.
Some five persons have also been rescued alive in the building which is still under construction in Gerald Road in Ikoyi area of Lagos as rescue operations intensified into the night as more thant 50 people are believed to still be trapped in the rubble.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are leading the operations with heavy duty and life detection equipment on ground.
Mr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, the General Manager of LASEMA, said: “Many workers are trapped under the rubble.”
Oke-Osanyintolu reported: “Collapsed Building at Gerard Road, Ikoyi. The agency has activated its emergency response plan to the above incident.
“All first responders are en route to secure the scene while the heavy-duty equipment and life detection equipment have been dispatched,” he reported initially.
Also the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported that it had established contact with some of the victims trapped in the building.
Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, NEMA Coordinator, South West, said that the one of the victims spoke to his relatives.
The victim still held in the rubble explained that some of them gathered around the mustard point in the building when it collapsed, Farinloye reported.
He noted that rescue operations had intensified, but with caution, to ensure that victims who were still alive would come out unhurt.
As the operations lasted, President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the families of those who died in the incident while Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, appealed for calm.
“President Buhari shares the sad moment with people and Government of Lagos State, urging authorities to step up efforts in rescue operations, while emergency institutions, including hospitals, should provide all the necessary support to safeguard lives of the rescued,” a statement signed by presidential spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, said late on Monday.
“The President prays for God’s intervention in the ongoing rescue operations.”
One of those trapped under the rubble is Mr Wisdom John, 28, a bricklayer, who said he escaped with just a few cuts because he had been on the ground floor when the building collapsed into a pile of concrete.
“We were more than 50 working today and the manager too,” he said, sitting in an ambulance getting treated. “We just ran out.”
Dozens of angry local residents and workers had gathered to help out soon after the collapse, many crying and voicing frustration over the slow pace of the rescue efforts.
The Lagos State police commissioner, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, said it was still too early to determine the cause of the collapse.
Meanwhile, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr Gbolahan Oki, says the owner of the building was given approval to construct only 15 floors.
Oki said that the owner of the property had been arrested and would face the law because people have died in the disaster.
“He got an approval for a 15-storey building and he exceeded his limit. I am on ground here and the materials he used are so inferior and terrible.
“The materials he used, the reinforcement, are so terrible. He got approval for 15 floors but built 21.
“I think he has been locked down. He has been arrested before now,” he said.
The GM said four people were rescued alive and three people died, adding that rescue efforts were still ongoing.