Following recovery of six bodies from the collapsed 21 Ikoyi Towers, on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos which occurred on Monday, over 45 victims are said to be trapped in the rubble as rescue team continued search operation on Tuesday.
In the early hours of Tuesday, rescue team comprising of: National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, both Federal and State Fire Services, Police, Neighborhood Watch, among other rescue team were seen excavating the debris in search of possible survivors and bodies at the scene of the incident.
As early as 6. am, families of trapped victims stormed the scene, wailing and praying that their loved ones be rescued alive.
Earlier, while reacting to the collapse building, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Mr Gbolahan Oki, said the owner of the collapsed 21-storey building, under construction was given approval to construct only 15 floors.
Oki told the newsmen that the owner of the property has been arrested and would face the law because the incident recorded casualties.
According to him: “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.
However, In a petition dated November 2, 2021 to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a legal practitioner and member, Body of Benchers, Kunle Uthman, Esq, blamed government for the unfortunate incident.
The petition read in part: “In explaining this gory incident, the General Manager Lagos State Building Control Agency said that the approval for the collapsed building was fifteen (15) and not 21 floors, and admitted that poor materials were used in construction of that building, hence its collapse.
“This incident is an example of culpability of government officials and its supervisory agency and failure to perform their duties and responsibilities or enforcement of punitive measures in respect of a recalcitrant contractor and owners of private properties.
“Necessarily, it would have taken appreciable time to construct the 6 additional floors, but the Agency responsible to issue stop work order and mark the building itself for demolition chose to ignore the construction of those additional floors and therefore failed in enforcement of extant laws.
“Why was a “Stop Order” not placed on this building and why was there no supervision of quality of materials as explicitly stated in several building control laws and legislation in the State.
“In this particular instance, which has resulted in fatality and deaths, the officials of the Lagos State Government responsible, especially the Lagos State Building Control Agency are culpable and should be prosecuted immediately, forthwith and without delay.
“This particular incident is a glaring example of officials of the government of Lagos State, compromising their duties and responsibilities for consideration. What is this hype of Centre of Excellence all about, if a 21 Storey building in highbrow Ikoyi will collapse as a result of negligence of irresponsible public officials, who earn salaries and whose lifestyles are maintained at the expense of the d4?
“We cannot continue like this, as apparently corruption and avarice has become not a social malaise but constitute our DNA. This incident is a “shame of a nation” state, unwarranted, unsolicited, irresponsible, insensitive, unfair, unjust and indeed criminal and even the Federal government should ensure that the global community do not see us as a lawless society, where public officials are allowed to go scot-free, when culpable or negligent in the performance of their duties.
“The General Manager of that agency has by his own statement that approval was for 15 and not 21 floors surreptitiously indicted himself and his agency.
“The proper thing to do is to immediately arrest and prosecute him and his cohorts in that agency in a court of law and to conduct integrity tests of all ongoing construction of buildings in Lagos state in excess of 10 floors. A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.”
Families throng scene
Some affected families of the victims have visited the scene on Tuesday, in search of their loved ones who were trapped in the building.
Some family members who wore mournful look refused to grant interviews to the press but were seen lamenting the situation and putting up calls to their loved ones about the incident.
One of them, a male, from the Sanni family, was seen begging officials at the scene to expedite action on the rescue operation.
He told them that his daughter, 26 years old, Sanni Oyindamola Zainab, a corp member was attached to the construction company handling the project.
According to him: “Oyin’ as fondly called was at the site for her official duties on Monday, when the incident occurred. “The press should wait till my daughter is rescued before directing their questions to me.”
One of the family members, who refused to disclose her identity, said his younger sister, Keji, was trapped in the rubble.
“As at 10.pm yesterday (Monday), Keji was shouting for help and her voice was audible unfortunately, as at 11am on Tuesday, the rescue operation did not reach her exact location. As at now, I don’t know whether she will be rescued.
A worker instructor, simply identified as ‘Papa’ said he brought seven workers to the construction site yesterday “but none of them is yet to be recovered.”
He gave some of the names as: Richards and Joseph.
However, a female official urged ‘Papa’ to carefully compile the names of the missing workers and submit to the appropriate authorities for the needful to be done