Six children feared dead in Lagos school building

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…Buhari, Ambode condole families

By Seun Oladunjoye and Oluwaseun Sonde

A total of six persons, including a pregnant woman, have been confirmed dead, while 59 persons wereqq rescued following the collapsed building at Baden Private Primary School situated at 10 Dagara Street, Itafaji area of Lagos Island.

The house is believed to be a residential building with several apartments, one of them being used as a primary school.

The three-storey school building collapsed at about 10am, killing some pupils and trapping hundreds under the rubble.

The pupils were said to be in their classrooms when the building suddenly caved in and buried them underneath.

Many of the pupils rescued by first responders were rushed to the Marina General Hospital. As expected, parents have stormed the school in search of their children.

Personnel of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were on ground and currently working to rescue the over 100 pupils, who are said to be trapped under the rubble.

Our correspondent also gathered that operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) led by ACP Tunji Disu are on ground to maintain law and order.

Among those rescued alive were a teacher, the landlord of the building and eight tenants of the three-story building.

Checks revealed that the school occupied the third floor while tenants occupied the second floor. The ground floors consist of a block of shops.

The casualty rate was on the high side because the building has over 20 rooms with about eight persons living in a room.

According to eyewitness, the school is about four years old and used to occupy a building in front of the collapsed one before it recently moved into the collapsed building.

Preliminary investigations revealed that there were plans to construct drainage around the old building which had just recently been dug round the building few days ago. This was what likely weakened the foundation.

Speaking with an Architect, CEO, Mr. Abiola Macaulay, stressed the fact that, some of the building ib Lagos island were constructed from their normal building plan of bungalow to storey buildings without putting all the necessary materials that made the building be weak in structure.

Meanwhile, the Lagos state Government has been enjoined to step up the monitoring exercise of private schools before approved for learning.

The Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Lagos State chapter, Mr. Adesina Adedoyin stated this in an interview with our correspondent regarding the recent school building collapsed in Lagos Island.

Adedoyin further confirmed that the said school is private property owned.

Though, his tone wore a painful and pathetic sound, the NUT Boss was not carried away from ensuring that hungry private schools eschew self centeredness.

According to him, “Private school owners should not because education business is thriving now, jeopardize the lives of innocent pupils like this.”

“Government should step up her monitoring pursuit on private schools been established yearly and should ensure that the relevant agency of government in construction should work in conjunction with school board to check any building set aside for private school before approval.”

He explained further that, “I am not a building or construction expert, but from my own perspective, it depicts that the building housing the collapsed school has been defected already.”

He therefore called on the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) to monitor and test the building of any school, even the existing ones as a conditions for approval.

“Schools should not be approved henceforth for claiming the lives of pupils, better still, parents should take their wards to public schools.”

Also, the Head Teacher, Abati Primary School, Shasha Akowonjo, Mr. Olaboye Hamzat corroborated that the building must have been on the watch list of the Building Control Agency.

Hamzat was also of the opinion that the building contractor should be put to interrogation, as part of thorough investigation into the incident.

Government must henceforth go round on a surveillance of all these so called mushrooms private schools.

“If we will get to know, the collapsed school might be an approved on. So, the government must wage in.”

It will be recalled that the collapsed of the school building on Mercy Street, Ita-Faaji Lagos Island occurred at about 10.30 am Wednesday.

LASEMA and other emergency responders such as the Lagos State Ambulance Service, Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Federal Fire Service have earlier been on a combined rescue operations.

Also, not excluding the National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Police Force, Rapid Response Squad, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. Nigeria Red Cross Society, Lagos State Neighborhood and Safety Corps.

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