..Occupants refused to vacate marked distressed building, say officials
It was a tragic scene yesterday when the body of an 80-year-old petty trader was recovered from the rubble of a collapsed two-storey building in the Oyingbo area of Lagos Mainland.
The octogenarian was a sole casualty in the incident, which occurred at about 8:00a.m.
The building was located at 34 Oloto Street, Borno Way, off Freeman Street, Oyingbo, in Lagos Mainland Local Council of the state.
It was learnt that the building was one of several distressed buildings marked for demolition four months ago by Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).
Wailing neighbours and sympathisers said upon the collapse, they rushed to the scene alongside other responders to offer help only to see that the octogenarian had died.
Lamenting the deceased, a trader in the area, Sunday Okenwan, said: “She’s a good woman. She was selling oranges and yams. We know the building is not in good condition, but I always come for business and go back.”
Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), Dr Femi Oke-Osanyitolu, said the agency received distress calls at about 8:30.a.m., while the rescue team arrived at about 8:42.a.m.
“The Agency responded to distress calls concerning the above and upon arrival
discovered a storey building in a state of partial collapse.
“Further information gathered at the incident scene revealed that an internal suspended beam in a room collapsed due to the ageing and lack of maintenance of the structure.
“Unfortunately, an old woman died from the impact of the partial collapse.”
Officials of the LASEMA Response Team (LRU) paramedics, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service and, Lagos Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), Police were on the ground to ensure safety and sanity.
Speaking on the incident, LASBCA’s spokesperson, Olusegun Olaoye said the building was marked and identified as distressed by the agency, and had since last month served notice on occupants to evacuate the building, so that it can be demolished.
According to him, the occupants refused to vacate and the agency was in the process of bringing it down before the incident occurred.
He said: “We marked the building for demolition because there were signs of distress when we came for inspection four months ago.
“Some critically distressed structures in the street and adjoining streets were sealed and occupants asked to evacuate.
“We have also asked people in the adjoining buildings we discovered are in distress to vacate.
“We have been compiling buildings for demolition and we cannot start demolishing without authorisation.
“So, we have to take time and follow the process. There is no timeline to when a building should be demolished, we have to wait for engineers to give us a timeline.”
Meanwhile, the roof of the standing parts of the building has been removed, while LASBCA officials are mobilising materials and equipment to properly pull it down as soon as possible.
“It has to be pulled down systematically, so it does not affect other buildings close to it,” an official said.
Recall that early this year, LASBCA published a list of distressed buildings awaiting demolition, many of such buildings were still occupied in the area, despite having LASBCA’s marks and seals on them.