Emergency services on Thursday said they had called off the search for survivors of a building collapse that killed nine in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, as anger mounted over dilapidated property and unscrupulous owners.
The building, which housed a primary school and nursery, came down without warning in the teeming Lagos Island area at mid-morning on Wednesday. Firefighters and other emergency services worked through the night to find anyone still trapped. One body was recovered in the early hours, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
“We have gotten to ground zero,” added Kehinde Adebayo, spokesman for the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency. “The debris has been cleared. “All those trapped have been evacuated and the rescue operation has ended,” he told AFP. Final casualty figures were still being compiled and would be announced later, he said. NEMA has said that 37 people were rescued alive
Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the building had been earmarked for demolition and a nursery and primary school were being run illegally on one of its floors. School bags, toys and clothes were among the piles of rubble as a bulldozer tried to clear a path through wreckage.
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. Another local, Zion Munachi, also confirmed the name and the number of pupils. But both said not all children were at the school because of sports activities.