Experts in the built environment have decried the unabated collapse of buildings in the country despite assurances given by government authorities that they should increase supervision of buildings in the country.
The recent collapse of building at Ita-Faji area, Lagos Island where schoolchildren were housed that resulted in casualties has again shown that the efforts of the authorities have not yielded positive results. Workers from the Red Cross and police shovelled debris away as thousands of people swarmed around the accident site, erupting into cheers as limp forms were pulled from the rubble.
Residents of the area said about 100 children attended the school, which was on the third floor of the building. The structure also housed offices, shops and residential units. School bags, toys, and clothes could be seen among the piles of rubble as a bulldozer tried to clear a path through some of the wreckage. A man involved in the rescue operation said, “I was passing by and heard a house collapsed. I had to straight away reach people living in there to rescue those that could be rescued”. Those who spoke to Daily Sun believed that nothing has changed, not even the policies enacted as the rules have not been implemented making the efforts mere waste of time. In the opinion of Chinweizu Onovo, government has to increase the efforts in stemming the tide of building collapse which is more rampant in the cities.
According to him, building collapse is becoming part and parcel of Nigerian live because both the government agencies and independent developers do not abide by the rules of engagement as they are concerned in the white paper. “We now have at our hands, several victims, including school children that were trapped under the rubbles of a three story building that suddenly collapsed in the morning at Ita-Faji of Wednesday, 13, March 2019 in Lagos State. During the rescue operation, Onovo said efforts to rescue the trapped pupils who were wailing under the rubbles by men of Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, LASEMA, Lagos State Fire Service, and other rescue teams helped in making much rescue. “But how long shall that exercise continue? Government should raise the bar in supervision and again the atmosphere where schoolchildren say to lean. We don’t value life in Nigeria and that is too bad. Children are subjected to untold hardships and those whose duty it is to safeguard lives are looking the other way,”he said.
According to another source, Mr. Gbenga Ashiru, an environmentalist said rescuers combed through the rubble early yesterday after at least eight people were killed and as many as 100 children feared trapped when the building housing a school collapsed.
“The collapsed building was a residential block containing a number of apartments as well as the school, residents and rescue officials at the scene told the BBC. Emergency teams pulled several injured pupils from the rubble, but many worried parents at the scene were unable to find their children, while others went to a local hospital to look for theirs. Men from the local area were assisting rescuers but large crowds of people were hindering the rescue operation.