Seven yet-to-be-identified persons lost their lives on Sunday when a three-storey building under construction collapsed in the Obalende area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that 10 other victims were rescued by emergency responders, who raced to the scene of the incident.
As of the time of filing this report, the cause of the collapse, which happened around 5.40pm, had yet to be ascertained.
Confirming the incident, the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the rescued victims were taken to hospital for treatment, adding that the corpses had been evacuated from the scene of the incident.
Oke-Osanyintolu said, “Upon arrival at the incident scene, a three-storey building under construction was discovered to have collapsed. The cause of the collapse has yet to be ascertained, but efforts are presently ongoing by the LASEMA Response Team and other responders to salvage the situation.
“As of 5.40pm, a total of eight men have been extricated alive by the LASEMA Response Team and other stakeholders, and have been attended to and quickly transferred to the Lagos Island General Hospital by LASEMA paramedics for further medical attention.
“Four people, made up of three males and one female, have so far been recovered dead and handed over to the SEHMU at the incident scene. A recovery operation is still ongoing.”
However, the acting Zonal Coordinator, South-West Zonal Office, National Emergency Management Agency, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, in an update on the incident around 7.42pm, said the corpses of six persons were removed from the rubble, while 10 other injured persons were rescued.
PUNCH Metro gathered that labourers were working on the third floor of the building, which had earlier been sealed off by the Lagos State Building Control Agency, when it caved in, trapped and killed some of them.
A caution tape used in sealing off the building was sighted by our correspondent.
However, based on the account of some rescued victims, it was gathered that some of the labourers, said to be Muslims, were observing prayers when the tragedy struck.
A source, who spoke with PUNCH Metro, said despite the sealing off of the building by LASBCA, the workers used a roofing sheet to shield the site to continue the work.
The source stated, “The work at the site is illegal because LASBCA had sealed off the place so those working there operated against the law. To achieve their purpose, they used a roofing sheet to cover the whole structure, and by so doing, nobody knew that they were working on the site.
“What some of those, who survived, said was that some people are still trapped in the rubble as they were praying when the building collapsed. We don’t know if they are alive or dead, but that is what some of the survivors said.”
The Head, Public Affairs, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Nosa Okunbor, added in an update, “Following the collapsed building at No. 60 Odo Street, Obalende, in the Eti-Osa LCDA, LASEMA activated the state’s emergency response plan with the latest update being that 10 persons were treated with minor injuries; and 10 severely injured persons were removed from the debris, tended and transferred to hospital for further treatment.
“Records indicate that the seven fatalities, made up of six men and one woman, have also been recovered and promptly handed over to SEHMU.
“Further on-site investigation revealed that a portion of the collapsed building said to be occupied by some of the workers had been sealed off by the Lagos State Building Control Agency for obvious reasons of contravention.
“It was also revealed that the owner of the said structure had commenced clandestine operations in the wee hours of Sunday, an illegal action that directly resulted in this unfortunate incident.
“According to eyewitnesses, the casting of the third floor was in progress when the building suddenly collapsed at the illegal construction site.”
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Idris Salako, later visited the scene of the collapse and inspected other adjoining buildings in the area for an on-the-spot assessment, and promised to get to the root of the incident.
NDLEA Nabs Trans-border Trafficker with N1bn Cocaine Hidden in Yoghurt
A 36-year-old suspected trans-border drug trafficker, Nkem Timothy, alias Auwalu Audu, has been arrested in Sokoto by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
He was apprehended while trying to cross to Algeria through Niger Republic with 62 wraps of substance suspected to be cocaine weighing 1.550kg and with an estimated street value of about N1bn.
The Sokoto State acting Commander of the NDLEA, Bamidele Segun, according to a statement by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, on Sunday, stated that the suspect was intercepted on a motorcycle around the Baggage area of the Illela border while trying to cross to Niger Republic, en route Algeria, where he resides.
The NDLEA said the illicit drug was neatly concealed inside bottles of yoghurt.
“He was found with an ECOWAS passport with different names written as Auwalu Audu, but he gave his real name as Nkem Timothy,” the commander stated.
He said his men had commenced investigation to unravel Timothy’s sponsor(s) and other members of the trans-border drug cartel.
“This is a groundbreaking feat for us in the command as a seizure of this magnitude of type ‘A’ drug has never been made in Sokoto Command before,” Segun added.
Meanwhile, the Adamawa State Command of the NDLEA has also arrested one Umar Mohammed with 82 blocks of compressed cannabis sativa weighing 70kg at the Lafiya Lamurde area of the state.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. General Buba Marwa (retd), commended the two commands and charged them to remain vigilant and ensure that no illicit drug passed through their areas of responsibility.
Suspected Mentally Challenged Man Kills, Burns Woman in Rivers
The police have arrested a suspected mentally unstable man who allegedly killed and burnt an unidentified lady near an uncompleted building along Rumuekini end of the East-West Road, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was gathered that after killing the woman, the man wanted to conceal his crime by setting fire to the victim but policemen who were alerted swooped on the suspect, arrested him and removed the corpse.
Residents of the area, who expressed shock over the development, said the decomposing corpse of the woman was discovered when the stench permeated the area.
A resident said, “When we came to work on Monday, there was a foul smell near an uncompleted building.
“So, we went there and saw the corpse of the lady. It is surprising that we are there, but don’t even know about it if not for the smell that makes us suspect that something had happened.”
The spokesman for the state police command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the killing and the arrest.
“The body has been evacuated and deposited in the mortuary. Investigation is still ongoing to ascertain what really happened,” Omoni said.
Lovers Found Dead in Delta Residence, Neighbours Suspect Suicide
A 33-year-old man, Emmanuel Oshiotu, and his 25-year-old lover, Amaka Okafor, were on Thursday found dead in their one-room apartment in Uvwie community in the Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.
The corpses of the lovers were sighted by neighbours in their apartment located at Ojigbo Crescent, Off Sapele-Effurun Road, Uvwie.
A neighbour of the deceased, who declined to be named, said, “Around 5am, we heard Emmanuel shouting for help and on breaking the door, found him vomiting white foam while his lover’s lifeless body lay a few distance from him.”
The cause of their death could not be ascertained by anyone as of the time of filing this report but witnesses said a can of insecticide and a knife were found besides their bodies.
The discovery made neighbours and the police suspect suicide.
It was further gathered that the suspected suicide theory was reinforced by one of the latest posts by Emmanuel on his Facebook page depicting someone facing frustration.
The neighbour said the lovers were rushed to the Central Hospital, Warri, where they were both confirmed dead on arrival and their bodies deposited in the morgue.
The Divisional Police Officer, CSP Muktari Bello, and his officers later inspected the bodies at the hospital.
The acting state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Edafe Bright, confirmed the incident.