Death Toll Rises to 22 from Nigeria Building Collapse

In Lagos, Nigeria, the death toll from the collapse of a building Monday has risen to 22 as rescuers continue digging through the rubble in a search for survivors. Experts say the collapse was likely the result of poor construction and weak oversight, and are worried that such catastrophes could happen again.

The search for survivors continued Wednesday at the site of the building collapse in Ikoyi, an upper-class area of Lagos state.

So far, nine survivors have been pulled out of the rubble and taken to hospitals. Scores more are reported missing.

Search teams have found 22 bodies.

On Tuesday, Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwolu visited the site and later suspended the state’s building control head. Lagos state also launched an independent investigation into the collapse.

But Festus Adebayo, founder of the Housing Development Advocacy Network, who visited the site, said authorities have been careless.

“We are careless, we’re just careless. We have recommended, the building code is there and we have said 21 years jail term, but nobody has been jailed it has all been media hype, noise, noise, noise,” said Adebayo.

Lagos authorities halted the construction of the building in June for not meeting standard structural requirements.

The local president of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, David Majekodunmi, said the institute doesn’t know if the problem was fixed before the workers were asked to return to the site.

“You seal up a site, definitely there are processes that you need to do before the site can be opened. We can’t tell now whether the process went through,” he said.

Lagos authorities say they are assessing the possible impact of the collapse on nearby structures.

Building collapses, unfortunately, are not uncommon in Lagos state, which has a population of 21 million people and thousands of high-rise structures.

Adebayo said these catastrophes are not good for investment or business.

“How do you think the whole world will see us? What’s the impression they’ll be having about our professionals? You’ll discover that a lot of people will not be going for high rise buildings,” said Adebayo.

On Tuesday, rescuers received several phone calls from people trapped under the debris. No new calls came on Wednesday, and experts say that as the days go by, the chances of survival for trapped victims are getting slimmer.

Source: Voice of America

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