Eric Dumo, Samuel Bolaji, Josephine Ogundeji and Gbenga Oloniniran
A building with over 500 rooms has collapsed in the Ketu area of Lagos State.
According to findings by PUNCH Metro, at least two persons are currently battling for their lives at a private hospital after the school-turned-residential building partially collapsed on Saturday.
The building housing hundreds of residents located at Agboye Estate on Oduntan Street, Ketu, first caved in on Saturday afternoon following hours of rainfall that greeted most parts of Lagos.
On Sunday afternoon, as residents were still trying to salvage their belongings, the building crumbled again, destroying another structure inside the compound before collapsing completely.
The development sent panic across the area, forcing hundreds of families and individuals residing in the building to vacate the premises.
During a visit to the affected building on Sunday, dozens of residents were seen moving their belongings in different directions as officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency cordoned off the premises.
The affected compound housing several defective buildings has been marked for demolition by officials of the Lagos State Government.
In December 2014, Saturday PUNCH, after weeks of investigation, published a report on the collapsed building titled ‘500-room house in Lagos where tenants live as prisoners.’
The report chronicled the horrible living conditions of tenants of Agboye Estate, who contended with snakes, scorpions, and other dangerous animals because of stagnant sewage water at the back of the building.
In most of the blocks constructed only inches away from each other, at least 12 rooms shared a single toilet and bathroom.
On average, two persons occupy each room, bringing the number of users of a single toilet to 24.
Following the report by Saturday PUNCH at the time, the Lagos State Government partially sealed the building but lifted the sanction a few days later.
After Sunday’s tragedy, the landlord of Agboye Estate reportedly went into hiding.
Efforts to reach the Director General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, were unsuccessful as calls to his phones were not answered and he had yet to reply to a text message sent to him as of press time.
The Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mukaila Sanusi, when contacted by our correspondent, said he would call back.
But he had yet to call back as of the time of filing this report and calls to his line afterwards were unanswered.
In a WhatsApp conversation with the Head, Public Affairs, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Adetayo Asagba, she noted that she was going to send a press release to this effect; however, as of the time of filing in this report, she had yet to send it in.
Nigeria witnessed a total of 553 building collapses between 1974 and ending on April 13, 2023, according to the latest report by the Building Collapse Prevention Guild.
The report indicated that Lagos State had recorded a high number of collapses with over 326 buildings caving in the last 49 years.
It showed that 326 collapsed buildings in Lagos represented 59.05 per cent of a total of 553 recorded cases in the country during this period.
The report stated, “Lagos State accounts for 59.05 per cent of the recorded incidents in Nigeria. Taraba, Bayelsa, Gombe, and Yobe states had their first recorded collapse in 2022, and Zamfara had only one recorded building collapse, which happened in 2018. Also, 1971, 1975, and 1981 were years that had no recorded collapses.”
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