Tears freely roll down the faces of residents of Freeman Street, Lagos Island, when they sighted the bodies of three persons who died in a collapsed house in the area.
Among the three victims, who lost their lives in the building collapse, were two children whose mother was rescued under the debris of the collapsed building.
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The mother of the children was still unconscious as at the time when she was brought out of the rubles.
“What offence did these children commit that they have to die this way” a neighbour, who identified herself as Tolupe Fashakin, said.
She said that the occupants of the house were still sleeping when the house came down around 3 am on Saturday.
Another eye witness said that initial rescue work was done by neighbours who rushed to the scene when they heard the sound when the house collapsed.
Chijoke Onuigbo, a neighbour, said that it was the loud sound she heard when the building collapsed that woke her up.
“The building came down with a loud noise.
“I thought it was an accident involving trucks but I discovered later when I came out that it was a house not too far from ours that collapsed.
“My heart melted when I sighted the bodies of the two children when they were brought out from under the house,” she added.
Premises of collapsed building sealed
In a swift reaction, the Lagos State Ministry Of Physical Planning and Urban Development sealed off the premises of a three-storey building.
Three persons, a policewoman and two children died in the collapsed house while seven others were rescued alive in the incident.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, said that the area had been sealed to enable government officials carry out integrity test on adjourning houses.
The Acting Territorial Coordinator of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, said the family of the deceased children newly moved into the building as the previous occupants had moved out with the excuses that renovation would be carried out.
He said that it was alleged that the developer brought in new tenants while the renovation was ongoing.
Conflicting number of victims
Speaking on the rescue work done, he said a total number of eight people were rescued from the scene of the incident.
“A total number of eight persons were rescued alive while two others were recovered dead,” he added.
The Area Commander, Area A, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Bode Ojajuni, was also on ground to provide security and to facilitate the evacuation of the injured and deceased persons.
LASEMA Cheif Executive Officer (CEO) said that the agency responded to emergency calls on the incident.
He said a total of nine victims were extricated from the rubble alive while, three bodies were recovered dead.
“Their remains were transported to the mortuary while pre-hospital care has been administered to the nine victims by LASEMA And LASAMBUS.
“LASEMA, LABSCA, Ministry Of Physical planning, Nigeria Police, LNSC, LASG FIRE are also at the incident scene carrying out a multi-agencies search and rescue operation,” he added.