**Ambode Visits Scene, Orders Full Scale Investigation
Lagos metropolis witnessed tragedy on Wednesday when a three-storey building located at Massey Street opposite Oja , Ita Faaji, Lagos Island, collapsed around 10am killing 12 persons said to be school pupils, while many were still trapped in the rubbles of the collapsed building.
LEADERSHIP gathered at the scene of the collapsed building that a school said to be illegally managed was located on the last floor of the building that suddenly caved in killing the occupants.
Witnesses said no fewer than 30 pupils had been rescued from the rubbles so far with scores of pupils and other occupants of the old building still trapped in the rubbles.
A parents said to have five children in the school was seen crying, saying ‘’ I have not seen any of my five children in the school. I am finished.’’
As rescue operations continue on the scene of the collapse, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode visited the scene of a three-storey building which collapsed in Ita Faaji area of Lagos Island, where he commiserated with families of victims who lost their lives, most of whom are children.
Ambode, who got to the scene of the incident at about 2:42pm, described the incident as unfortunate, however, appealing 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.
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.
“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,” he said.
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 neighborhood 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.
Ambode also said that a full scale investigation would be carried out immediately rescue operations are concluded, vowing 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.
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.
Other details later.
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