No fewer than 10 persons were feared dead on Monday when a 21-storey building collapsed on Gerard Road in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.
As of the time of filing this report, many people were still trapped in the rubble, including the Managing Director, Fourscore Heights Limited, Mr Femi Osibona, who owned the building, and some of his clients and engineers.
One of the workers who survived the incident, Gabriel Bassey, told one of our correspondents that about 50 persons were still trapped in the rubble.
He said, “This project, 360 Degree, was built by Fourscore Homes Limited. I was trying to plug my phone and not up to five seconds that I left the spot, I saw the building coming down and I ran to safety. We have a lot of people trapped in the rubble, who we need to bring out.
“When the incident happened, we brought out six dead bodies and we still have like 30 Togolese and Nigerian bricklayers and four engineers and other workers. My boss, Mr Femi, is still trapped in the building. He was on the 18th floor with some of his clients, who wanted to buy the building, when the incident happened.”
A resident, Morris Ashiobi, said the building did not show any sign before it caved in.
He said, “When the incident happened, I was the first person to climb the building to the last floor and I saw corpses. I started calling people to come and rescue others. We recovered six dead bodies, rescued one, while the rest are still under the rubble.
“The building didn’t give any sign, it just came down. We were still working on it. It took an hour before the emergency agencies came and we had brought out the dead bodies and rescued one person before they came. If I’m not mistaken, about 40 persons were on site, because we were working at the time. Some people came from Abuja today (Monday) to work. I have many friends still trapped in the building.
“When the police came, they chased us out and didn’t allow us to rescue anyone again; if they had allowed us, we would still have rescued more people.”
An eyewitness, Blessing Feyijimi, who lamented the lack of equipment by the first responders, stated that more people would have been rescued if they were better equipped.
He said, “When the incident happened around 1.36pm, we started rescuing people but the security men locked the gate and didn’t allow people to enter. We protested and forced our way in. We recovered four dead bodies on the last floor and rescued four injured persons; but some people are still trapped in the rubble.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, confirmed the death of five persons, adding that three others were rescued.
However, the South-West Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, said four corpses were recovered from the building, adding that four were rescued.