Rescuers on Wednesday recovered eight bodies and rescued 37 people alive from the wreckage of a collapsed four-storey building in the Ita Faji area of Lagos Island.
Children had been attending an “illegal school” inside the residential building when the structure collapsed, officials said.
“Thirty-seven people were rescued alive and eight were recovered dead,” Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said in a statement.
NAN reports that 17 of the rescued students and occupants of the building were taken to Massey Children Hospital, very close to the scene, while others were taken to the Lagos Island General Hospital on Broad Street.
A worker at the Massey Children Hospital, who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity, however said that four out of those brought in, died few minutes after.
The medical staff said that six of those who were rushed to the Lagos General Hospital also died.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who visited the scene said the government would ensure that the trapped victims were rescued.
The school moved to the collapsed building some years ago.
Distraught parents of pupils and residents of the building jammed the scene of the rescue operation hoping that their children and relatives would come out alive.
Bukola Salami, a former teacher in the school told NAN that the proprietress of the school had been told to vacate the building but she balked on account that she had no money to rent another apartment.
”It was because of the situation of the building that forced me to resign from the school in December, because I don’t want to risk my life.
“It is unfortunate that such incident happened. It looks like a dream to me,” she said.
A resident of the collapsed building, who simply gave his name as Akin said that the building was marked for demolition but that the developer found a way to stop the demolition.
Akin said he had gone to work, when he received the news of the incident. He also stated that the owner did some renovation two years ago.
A neighbour, Adewale Owoso likened the moment the building collapsed to a bomb explosion.
“We were just sitting down in front of the school, when we heard a loud sound .
“We all ran into different directions but after the dust had settled, we realised that it was the building that collapsed.
“We quickly mobilised and began some rescue operation and we had rescued more than twenty people, before the emergency workers arrived,” he said.
Aishat Onilenla said, three of her sister’s three children were trapped in the collapsed building. ‘My friend has seven children also trapped in the rubble”, she said.
“ I don’t know how she is going to survive it. It is too big for her to bear,” she said.