School children trapped as three-storey building collapses in Lagos

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Twenty-seven (27) school children have been rescued with several victims presently trapped under the rubbles of a three-story building that suddenly collapsed in the morning at Ita-Faaji area, Lagos Island on Wednesday morning.

A floor in the building is being used as a school and pupils were in their classrooms when the building caved in.

As part of effort to rescue the trapped pupils who were wailing under the rubbles, men of Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, LASEMA, Lagos State Fire Service, and other rescue teams have been dispatched to the scene.

LASEMA spokesman, Adebayo Kehinde, in a statement, said many of the victims were brought out alive.

“The search and rescue operation is presently ongoing with so many victims rescued alive from the collapsed building through combined efforts of LASEMA and other emergency responders such as the Lagos State Ambulance Service, Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Federal Fire Service.

“Others include 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.

“The exercise is being coordinated by the General Manager Lagos State Emergency Management Agency Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu with the deployment of heavy and light rescue equipment from LASEMA and its stakeholders,” he said.

Reacting to the development, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, called for a comprehensive audits of all public and private educational facilities in Lagos by independent panel of experts, adding that the commissioner for housing or urban planning who must be arrested and prosecuted over the sad incident.

HURIWA called on the National Assembly to declare a state of Housing and school facilities’ emergency in Lagos state so there could be a nationally funded audits of all public and private schools in Lagos and to commence the immediate upgrade of all public primary schools in Lagos state even as Private School owners should be given a matching order to carry out verifiable upgrade or forfeit their operational licenses within two weeks.

The rights group also has called for the dismissal and prosecution of the education commissioner for failing to discharge the constitutional functions imposed on the office holder as the direct coordinating body that ought to provide oversight functions on all school facilities to ensure standards, safety and security of the pupils and students.

It also called for the forensic audits of all public building assets including malls; stadia and places of worship to safeguard the lives of millions of Nigerians in Lagos, stressing that the audit of these houses should be carried out in all major cities across the country.

It wondered why Lagos has persistently become a hub for substandard buildings going by the numerous cases of building collapse just as the Rights group condemned the snail speed dispensation of justice in Lagos with specific reference to cases of collapse buildings even as it blamed judicial corruption for this ugly trend.

HURIWA, in a statement by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, threatened to dispatch a petition to the United Nations Education Commission, UNESCO, and the secretary General of the United Nations to call the attention of the world body to the dangers that millions of school children go through by being exposed to poor, substandard and comprehensively unsafe schooling environment by the Lagos administration.

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