At least seven dead bodies have been evacuated from the rubble of the 22-storey building that collapsed on 44B, C,D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi area of Lagos State, while many others were still feared trapped.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the building confirmed by the state’s physical planning authority to be a 22-storey building was still under construction before it caved in yesterday afternoon, with several people said to be trapped.
It was further learnt that the building said to be developed by Fourscore Heights Limited had issues when the supervisors, Prowess Engineering Limited, pulled out due to disagreements on the pattern of development of the ill-fated project.
In a letter addressed to Mr Femi Osibona dated 20, February, 2020 , the managing director of Prowess Engineering Limited, Muritala Olawale, had warned against the integrity of the building, saying he could not guarantee the structure.
The letter obtained by LEADERSHIP stated: “This is to formally inform you of the withdrawal of our structural consultancy service from the above named project. We arrived at this decision due to the fact that we no longer share the same vision with you as our client in terms of how the project is being executed.
“We can guarantee the integrity of the first two buildings and also works done up to the fourth floor of the third building supervised by us provided specifications have been met in terms of the required concrete strength. We do not have control as we do not have the concrete cube test result for each stage of the building till date. Also, kindly note that we are not taking responsibilities for other construction errors that may have occurred over time on the project.
“Furthermore, we request that our company’s name and logo be removed from the project board and also kindly notify all necessary approving authorities of our withdrawal from the project.’’
When our correspondent visited the scene, the rescue team and personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were trying to recover more bodies trapped in the debris.
An eyewitness who gave his name as Raphael Osin said, “You can see rescue operation is currently ongoing, emergency responders battling to save the lives of those trapped in the debris.
“But the sad news is that about seven dead bodies have been evacuated from the rubble of the building so far, with more still expected.’’
Another state government official said since they had been working, nobody has been brought out alive from the debris, even as he admitted however that a few people had been rescued before emergency responders arrived at the scene.
Lagos State deputy governor, Dr. Kadri Hamzat; the commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Idris Salako; commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, among others, were also at the scene.
Director General, LASEMA, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said emergency responders were on top of the situation.
Osanyintolu said the agency had activated its emergency response plan to the scene of the incident.
“All first responders are en-route to secure the scene while the heavy duty equipment and life detection equipment have been dispatched,” he said
With the combined efforts of the Lagos Rescue Unit (LRU), Lagos State Fire Service and LASAMBUS, three victims of the collapsed 22-storey building were rescued alive.
Sanwo-Olu Orders Probe Of Gerrard Road Building Collapse
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the probe of the 21-storey building that collapsed on 44 B, C, D Gerrard Road, killing seven people and trapped others in the rubble.
The governor in a statement issued by the commissioner for information and strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said “Lagos State government has called for calm over the collapse today of a 21-storey building, which is under construction on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi.
‘’Lagos Rescue Unit (LRU), Lagos State Fire Service and Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS) are on the site, battling to save the lives of those under the rubble. Three persons have been rescued, even as the operations to save more lives continue.
‘’Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered an investigation into the incident.
‘’The deputy governor directed security agents to cordon off the site to facilitate rescue efforts,’’ he said.
Omotoso said the general manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Mr Gbolahan Oki, was also at the scene assessing the site for any likely damage to the surrounding structures.
‘’A report of the investigations will be made public in due course,’’ he said.