21 persons, including 12 pupils and a pregnant woman were confirmed dead following the collapse of a building housing a primary school on No. 63 Massey Street, Ita Faaji area of Lagos Island.
The injured victims are in different units of Lagos Island General Hospital, with many others being referred to the Massey Children Hospital and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba.
Commiserating with the parents of the affected pupils, the state Deputy Governor, Dr Oluranti Adebule, said “I have gone in to see the children and most of them are in stable conditions. We are begging you to allow the medical team to look after your children. We know that you are pained and we can feel that you are hurt. Every minute count. The Lord will heal them all and grant them speedy recovery.”
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who arrived at the scene of the incident around 2.42pm, described the incident as unfortunate.
“I want to commiserate with the families of those who 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 the rescue operation,” the governor stated.
“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 trapped victims.”
Ambode added that the state government would take over the treatment and foot the bills of the victims.
He added, “So far, from the briefing that I have received, we have rescued about 25 people and some are 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.
“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.”
On receiving the information, President Muhammadu Buhari said he was extremely saddened by the collapse of the school building, which led to the death of schoolchildren.
“It touches one to lose precious lives in any kind of incident, particularly those so young and tender. May God grant everyone affected by this sad incident fortitude and succour,” Buhari stated.
On his part, Senate President Bukola Saraki said “My heartfelt prayers are with all the families affected by today’s building collapse in the Ita Faaji area of Lagos Island, particularly the young schoolchildren, who are reportedly trapped inside. I pray for their safe rescue.”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, also expressed “deep sadness” over the death of the pupils following the collapse of the building.
Speaking through a by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, Dogara said it was saddening that “innocent souls would perish in such a dreadful manner” and called for a thorough investigation of the unfortunate incident.
He said, “This is one too many of these building collapses that usually claim the lives of innocent people. It is time for decisive actions to be taken against all found culpable of breach of building standards that end up in disasters.
“The law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies must step up their game and put an end to the practice of cutting corners to increase gain. While this has not been established as the cause of this incident yet, past incidents have pointed to this as a serious factor.
“I commiserate with the families of the deceased and pray that their souls rest in peace.”