By Uche Amunike
The number of collapsed ikoyi building deaths has been confirmed to rise to 20, among which is the Managing Director, Fourscore Heights Ltd, Mr Femi Osibona, who owned the 21-Storey building.
The National Emergency Management Agency Southwest Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye, as well as the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu confirmed that the 20 bodies have been recovered, while nine people were rescued alive.
Three of the rescued victims are already home with their families, while the others are being treated at the Lagos Island General Hospital, Marina.
The more the collapsed Ikoyi building deaths increased, the more agitated family members of some of the victims became, because of what they termed ‘the slow pace of work’ at the scene.
They pleaded to the emergency management workers to permit members of the public to assist in helping to identify the recovered bodies and to know if their loved ones have been found or were still trapped in the collapsed building and also increase the chances of saving more lives. They were however, not allowed to identify the bodies recovered to know if their loved ones were involved or not. Only 10 men were selected to enter the premises and help to assist the responders, but were later chased out which led to the crowd being aggravated.
A young female member of the National Youth Service Corps known as Zainab was among people trapped in the rubble. Her family members were also in the premises.
The sad part about the collapsed Ikoyi building deaths is that they would have been avoided, considering that the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Mr Gbolahan Oki admitted that the owner of the building got approval for a 15-storey building and not 21, and further noted that inferior materials were utilized for the construction and promised that appropriate actions would be taken.
The state Deputy Governor however contradicted him by stating that the collapsed building was approved for 21-storey building 3 years ago.
He disclosed that the state government actually sealed the building for 4 months in 2021, when they noticed some anomalies in the construction.
His words: ‘The operation, as you can see is going on and we will not leave until we are able to account for everybody. We are responsible for the people of the state; our focus is on saving lives.
‘As a matter of fact, this place was sealed for about four months sometime last year from July to November because our agency came in to do structural tests and saw some anomalies and shut it down and said those things should be corrected.’
He explained that they were making corrective actions when the building collapsed and that they were not really constructing, but investigations will expose what really happened.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has however ordered the indefinite suspension of the Lagos State Building Control Agency GM over the incident.
He made this known in a statement which was released by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, who said that the government had as well, set up a panel to probe the tragedy.
In the statement the governor assured that the Lagos State government to discover what went wrong and punish those involved, which they have started by suspending the GM indefinitely.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba described the collapsed Ikoyi building deaths as unfortunate and expressed the need to strengthen regulations that are necessary when certain constructions are to take place.