Children killed as building housing a school collapses in Lagos

BUILDING School children are trapped inside

Firefighters and other emergency services worked through the night to find anyone still trapped.

The bodies of the dead, which reportedly included that of a pregnant woman, were deposited at the General Hospital mortuary. "The debris has been cleared. Our teams are on the ground, the situation is confused", he told AFP.

The building, which was described by residents and rescue workers, as "very old" and "marked for demolition since last year", came crashing after giving signs of fatigue. Students were already attending class on the top floors of the structure and more than 100 children are believed to be enrolled in the school, the Associated Press reported.

The Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Wasiu Esinlokun, who also visited the scene, said a notice for demolition was served on the building on Tuesday, a day before it collapsed.

"We cleared it out to see if anyone was still buried below this rubble".

Shopworker Adeniyi Afolabi, who lives nearby, gave the name of the school as the Ohen Nursery and Primary and said there were 144 pupils in attendance on Wednesday.

As expected, parents stormed the school in search of their children. Onlookers crowd around in the densely populated neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital.

Building collapses are frequent in Nigeria, where regulations are poorly enforced and construction materials are often substandard. In 2016 more than 100 people died when a church collapsed in southeastern Nigeria.

An inquiry found it had structural flaws and had been built illegally. Engineers responsible for the construction are now on trial for manslaughter.

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Also reacting to the incident, Lagos State Building Control Agency LASBCA, said the building that caved in had been marked for demolition since past year because it was discovered by the Agency to be distressed.

"A lot the buildings here are not safe. We are about to enter the rainy season and these things will get worse", she added.

One of the traders with a shop at the building, Emeka Chukwuka, also said the house had been showing signs of crack before it eventuality collapsed yesterday.

The pupils werereportedly in their classrooms when the building caved in on them.

While visiting the scene of the incident, the governor said the school and shops in the three-storey building, were not authorized and were operating "illegally" in the building, which is meant exclusively for residential purposes.

According to him, Lagos Island which used to be the historical base of Brazilian returnees, and a symbol of magnificent buildings, has become a citadel of building collapse because of activities of quack developers.

Some section of the protesters also expressed their disappointment over the seeming laid back way government is handling buildings that are no longer fit to live.

"Landlords who convert residential buildings to commercial purposes should be sanctioned".

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