Rescuers are searching for survivors after 10 killed in the collapse of the Lagos building

  • Rescuers are searching for survivors 24 hours after the building collapsed
  • The building was blocked in June due to structural problems
  • Developer claims he has developed buildings in the UK

LAGOS, Nov. 2 (Reuters) – Rescuers dug through rubble Tuesday looking for survivors a day after a luxury high-rise collapsed while under construction in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, when officials set the death toll at 10, and many were reported missing.

Emergency services used earthmoving equipment to lift pieces of masonry on site in the affluent Ikoyi neighborhood after heavy rains hit Lagos overnight and briefly stopped the search. Large trailers were brought in to help move debris and blocked one of Ikoyi’s highways.

Building collapses are frequent in Africa’s most populous country, where rules are poorly enforced and building materials are often below standard.

Lagos state government had sealed the building in June for failing to meet structural requirements and demanded the irregularity be rectified before construction could continue, State Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat said in a statement. However, he will not say whether the problem has been fixed.

“Our focus right now is to get people out alive,” Hamzat said

Ten bodies have been found and nine people were pulled out alive when excavators sifted rubble from the mounds of crushed concrete and twisted metal where the building once stood.

Hamzat said the number of people captured was unknown, but that interviews with workers indicated that up to 40 people were on site when the building collapsed, much lower than the number of 100 given by witnesses on Monday. Read more .

People gather at the site of a collapsed 21-storey building in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria, on November 1, 2021. REUTERS / Temilade Adelaja

Excited families whose loved ones were missing refused to speak to the media. Some moaned and others prayed in small groups for safe return for their relatives.

As the temper flared up, others got into fights with officials and demanded to be allowed to help with the search.

New high-end apartments have emerged in Ikoyi, and the collapsed building was part of three towers built by private developer Fourscore Homes, where the cheapest unit was sold for $ 1.2 million.

Project developer and owner of Fourscore Homes, Olufemi Osibona, told a local news channel in August that he had developed buildings in Peckham and Hackney in the UK and that the Ikoyi apartments were the start of major projects he was planning in Nigeria.

Osibona could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Local media say he may have been among the prisoners.

A narrator in a promotional video on Fourscore Home’s Instagram page says the complex “contests the Ikoyi landscape like a colossus”, showing the buildings, each with swimming pools on the roof and equipped with luxury equipment.

Phone calls to numbers listed for Fourscore Homes and the main contractor did not ring through Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Libby George in Lagos and Chijioke Ohuocha in Abuja; writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Edited by Clarence Fernandez, William Maclean and Ed Osmond

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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