Drama as LASEMA, LASBCA disagree on collapsed building

Did House 57, Egerton Street in Oke Arin on Lagos Island collapse yesterday?

Yes, it did, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said.

But the State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) described LASEMA’s assertion as “untrue,” saying no building collapsed.

A national newspaper quoted Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasaki Musibau, as saying that the building had a partial collapse.

LASBCA, however, insist that no such thing happened.

Its spokesperson Mrs Titi Ajirotutu said the building had already been demolished by LASBCA.

Mrs Ajirotutu said a scavenger was injured in the process of carting away door steel and other materials.

LASEMA on his twitter handle said @lasemasocial said the building had been marked by LASBCA for demolition.

The agency wrote: “The officials (LASBCA) were on top of the building when some scavengers tried to remove the doors on the ground floor and the remaining parts of the building collapsed on them.

“The four scavengers sustained minor injuries and had been taken to the nearest hospital before the arrival of LRT (LASEMA Response Team.)

Musibau, according to the paper, said four rescued victims have been taken to a hospital.

“Information from our men at the scene showed that it was a partial collapse. They have removed four persons trapped in the building. They were all rescued alive. They have been taken to the hospital for treatment as I speak,” he said.

LASBCA General Manager Mr Lekan Shodeinde in a statement last night reiterated that there was no fresh building collapse in the state as being trending on the social media today.

Shodeinde said “a three-floor structure was marked as distressed and is undergoing demolition as at press time. The building in question is within a built-up area flanked by other adjoining structures at the rear.”

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He added that the demolition of the distressed building became necessary in order to avert another disaster.

According to him, the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode will leave no stone unturned to sanitise the building construction industry in the state by removing all the distressed, illegal structures and buildings prone to collapse as well as those that were not in conformity with the state building laws.

The general manager appealed to Lagosians to cooperate with the State Government by moving out of all buildings marked as distressed and also stay away from demolition sites.

He, however, re-emphasised the fact that only the LASBCA has the responsibility and professional expertise to determine whether a building is distressed or prone to collapse.

Meanwhile, Mrs Ajirotutu said additional four buildings – 2, Olushi, 3, Obadina, 30A, Isale Agbede and 36, Isale Agbede streets – were demolished yesterday.

“The total number of buildings demolished so far in Lagos Island was 17,” she said.

Residents of demolished houses and those marked for demolition on Lagos Island are begging the government for help.

They want the government to resettle them so that they can begin life afresh.

Many of them were wandering yesterday, with nowhere to go. Some gathered their belongings by the roadside; Others sold their personal effects at giveaway prices.

The Nation learnt that some slept on the streets; others squatted with relatives and friends.

A victim of the Ita Faji, Lagos Island building collapse, who preferred anonymity, said: “It’s still like a movie, a dream, which I will forever live to remember. I was looking out from my window when I saw the house going down with a loud sound. The building sank and I heard shouts and cries of people. Those in the building cried out. Neighbours could not hold back their tears. Adults cried like babies. Everyone ran to the scene.”

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A resident of a demolished house, Noheem Saka, said he didn’t know where to go.

He said: “My family and I have nowhere to go. What the government has done is right, following the recent building collapse, but we want it to provide low-cost housing for us to rent.”

Saka said the government should continuously check houses and ensure that the foundations are strong.

“When they come to test the buildings, government officials should not collect bribes,” he added.

A victim, Quadri Oladapo, said his family house had been demolished.

Said he: “I am not aware if the government has given us quit notice. They just came suddenly last Friday and demolished our house. We all slept on the streets with our belongings. Mosquitoes bit us.

“We are Nigerians, we are not refugees. The government should assist us.”

Another victim, Segun Apu, said they were given notice before but they resorted to renovating the house.

“They gave us notice again last Friday and said they would demolish it today (yesterday). Our personal effects are on the streets. We don’t know where to go. The government should help us. We have started selling the belongings we bought with our sweat at giveaway prices,” he said.

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