Building collapse: Lagos Governor orders full scale investigation

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left), addressing residents and journalists during his visit to the scene of the building collapse at Massey Street, Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. With him are General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Tiamiyu Adesina (2nd right); Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye (right) and Chairman, Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area, Mr. Kamar Salau-Bashua (left).

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has ordered a full scale investigation to unravel the cause of a collapsed building in the early hours of Wednesday.

The Governor gave the directives when he visited the scene of the incident to commiserate with families of victims who lost their lives, most of whom are children.

A three-storey residential building, located at No 14, Massey Street, Opposite Oja, Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island area, housing a primary school on its pent house and on the ground floor, caved in at about 10am on Wednesday morning trapping scores of pupils of the school in the process.


Governor Ambode who said that a full scale investigation would be carried out immediately rescue operations are concluded, however vowed that those found culpable would be severely dealt with in accordance with the relevant laws.

 “This is unfortunate but we will investigate what has happened and also see the punishment for whoever are the culprits. That is the secondary level but the most important thing right now is to save lives and I just appeal to people that they should give us the chance to save more lives,” he said.

Unfortunate incident
Governor Ambode who described the incident as unfortunate, however, appealed to residents to allow rescue operators the space to carry out their operations without any hindrance, so as to rescue more children still trapped under the rubbles.

“I want to commiserate with the families of those that lost their lives in this collapsed building. I want to quickly let Lagosians know that this is quite an unfortunate incident. All we are trying to do is to scale up this rescue operation. Our response units are already here; we are getting additional cranes to be able to go deeper than where we are now to rescue more lives.

“I just want to appeal to people that when we are doing this kind of rescue operation, yes, sympathizers will naturally come but I want to appeal that they should give the rescue workers the chance to save more lives,” he said.

Hospital bill

The Governor said his Deputy, Dr. Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, had also visited the hospitals where some of the victims rescued had been taken to, assuring that the State Government would immediately take over their treatment and foot their entire bill.

According to him: “The Deputy Governor is in the hospital actually taking care of those that were rescued and taken to the hospital most especially the children. On the part of government, we would immediately take care of whatever it is that we can do, including the hospital bills.

“All we are interested in now is to save more lives and also see how those that have been rescued are put in proper place and proper care.”

Structural defects

Giving a brief of the situation, the Governor said he had received information that the building was a residential one, with the school operating illegally within the premises, adding that about two floors of the building sunk to the ground.

He said most of the buildings in the area had been marked for demolition, but that some property owners in the area defy such notices, assuring that going forward, structural defective buildings would be demolished.

“The first observation is that this is an old building and it is only the Pent House and the other floors that we have been able to use to rescue people.

“So far, from what I have been briefed, we have rescued about 25 people and some already dead but we were earlier informed that it was a school, the building is not technically a school, it is a residential building that was actually accommodating an illegal school so to speak on the second floor.

“Like we have said, we have been carrying out a lot if integrity tests on the buildings in this neighbourhood and as you can see, some of them have been marked for demolition but we get resistance from landlords but we must continue to save lives and we would intensify our efforts to see that those have failed our integrity test, we would ensure that they are quickly evacuated and we bring the structures down,” he said.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Tiamiyu Adesina (left) and Chairman, Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corp (LNSC), Rtd. A.I.G Israel Ajao (right) during the Governor’s visit to the scene of building collapse at Massey Street, Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

Sense of assurance

He assured that rescue operations would continue until all victims are rescued, adding that the General Officer Commanding 81 Division and the Brigade Commander were on ground to maintain peace and ensure smooth rescue operations.

“That is what is important to us and the more lives we save, the better for us,” he said.

Responding to a concern raised by a resident on the increase in illegal schools in the area, Governor Ambode said all schools that fall within that category would be closed down.

As at the time of filling in this report the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, said that over 50 people have been rescued and taken to the nearby hospitals while nine dead bodies confirmed have been deposited at the State Mortuary, as rescue operations continue.