Birthday Tragedy, Suicidal Dad-Of-Three… Tales Of Woe From Ita Faji School Collapse

One of the school children who died in the Lagos school building collapse told his mum he didn’t want to go to school on the day, being his birthday, SaharaReporters has been told.

Tragedy struck in the early hours of Wednesday after a three-storey building including the Ohen Nursery and Primary School, located at Ita Faji, Lagos Island, collapsed, killing many people, including children as of yesterday’s count.

The three-storey building, situated at Massey Street at the Adeniji Adele area of Lagos Island caved in at about 10:45 am reports say.

When newsmen visited the scene of the crash, families and neighbours of the victims were heard giving different accounts of what might have been done to avert the incident.

One parent at the scene who became an emergency worker overnight told reporters:

”I have rescued my five-year-old son, he survived; now I’m here to help others but the LASEMA officials are making things very difficult and slow.”

READ ALSO: Ita Faji: Many Pupils Feared Dead, Over 100 Trapped As School Building Collapses In Lagos Island

He added that another child killed in the accident might have been alive had events gone another way.
“Today is the boy’s birthday; he said he didn’t want to go to school because it’s his birthday but his mother insisted. He was among those that first died.”
Another said:

“A woman couldn’t afford fees so she came to beg in the morning but the proprietor turned her back with her child; she has just heard what happened and is thanking God.”

Another story that caught our attention is that of a father who allegedly threatened to commit suicide after he learnt that his three children (pupils of the school) died in the accident.

According to a Twitter user, Emeka Uduma, who appeared to be present at the scene of the incident, the suicidal man who managed to pay his kids school fees ended up losing them on the day ( the day of the incident) they resumed back to school after two weeks of being absent due to his inability to pay their school fees.

READ ALSO: Update On Collapsed School Building: At Least 50 Children Rescued As Wailing Parents Storm Hospitals In Lagos Island 

Uduma wrote;

”So this man at the site of this building collapse in Lagos island is threatening to kill himself as he lost 3 of his kids who sat at home all through last week because of school fees only for him to take them to school today, pay their fees and they all die I’m deeply hurt.”

Also, a video has emerged showing the moment a boy was pulled out alive from the rubble to the great joy of everyone present.

Watch the video below:

The number of casualties is, however, yet to be determined as officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Police, Army and National Security and Civil Defence Force (NSCDC) have continued with rescue operations.

The South-West Zonal Head of Public Affairs of the Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye said the rescue operation was ongoing as at 8 p.m yesterday.

However, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said eight persons died, while 34 others were rescued in the wreckage of the building that collapsed at about 10 am this morning.

Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) did not give the number of the dead, but said it rescued 10 persons out of the wreckage.

News Agency of Nigeria gathered that most of the victims were rescued from the rubble on Wednesday, but died at the General Hospital as doctors failed to save them.

NAN also learnt that a pregnant woman was one of the persons rescued from the rubble, immediately after the building collapsed, but she died in the hospital.
Other persons reported dead as at 8 p. m. included the proprietress of the school, about 12 pupils and some occupants of the building.
‘Marked for demolition’
The building at 63 Massey Street, it was learnt had been marked for demolition by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency.
However, the occupants of the building frustrated the demolition. NAN further learnt that 17 of the rescued students and occupants of the building were taken to Massey Children Hospital, very close to the scene, while others were taken to the Lagos Island General Hospital on Broad Street.
A worker at the Massey Children Hospital, who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity said that four out of those brought in, died few minutes after.
The medical staff said that six of those who were rushed to the Lagos General Hospital also died. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who visited the scene said the government would ensure that the trapped victims were rescued. The school moved to the collapsed building some years ago.

Grief;

Distraught parents of pupils and residents of the building jammed the scene of the rescue operation hoping that their children and relatives would come out alive.

Bukola Salami, a former staff teacher in the school who spoke with NAN, said the proprietress of the school had been told to vacate the building but she balked on account that she had no money to rent another apartment.

”It was because of the situation of the building that forced me to resign from the school in December, because I don’t want to risk my life. It is unfortunate that such incident happened. It looks like a dream to me,” she said.
A resident of the collapsed building, who simply gave his name as Akin, said that the building was marked for demolition but “the developer found a way to stop the demolition”.
Mr Akin said he had gone to work, when he received the news of the incident. He also stated that the owner did some renovation two years ago.

‘Bomb explosion’A neighbour, Adewale Owoso, likened the moment the building collapsed to a bomb explosion.

“We were just sitting down in front of the school, when we heard a loud sound. We all ran into different directions but after the dust had settled, we realised that it was the building that collapsed.
We quickly mobilised and began some rescue operation and we had rescued more than twenty people, before the emergency workers arrived,” he said.
Aishat Onilenla said, three of her sister’s three children were trapped in the collapsed building. 
”My friend has seven children also trapped in the rubble,” she said. ”I don’t know how she is going to survive it. It is too big for her to bear,” she said.
The deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly, Wasiu Esinlokun, who visited the scene of the incident, said a notice for demolition was served on the building on Tuesday, a day before the building collapsed.
Mr Esinlokun, while speaking with journalists said that the Lagos State Government would ensure that victims of the incident are treated free.
As at 8.30pm, NAN gathered that some of the parents whose children died in the hospital had gone to pick up the corpses for burial.

Photo credit: NAN/Premium Times

 

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