The building situated at Block M20, Jakande Estate, Church Street, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos collapsed at about 12 midnight killing the girls and leaving their mother with serious injuries.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the corpses of the girls, Toyin and Bukola Coker were taken away at 6.15 a.m today by some officials of the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS). An official of the National Emergency Management Agency, also confirmed that there are no more bodies under the building’s rubble.
The building along with others within the vicinity were erected 30 years ago and were noticed to have severe cracks.
A man living in the neighbourhood, Mr Opeyemi Fagun told NAN that they noticed that the building had been sinking gradually for about a year. He said that the occupants had been warned to evacuate the building over a year ago when the walls started cracking.
According to him, occupants of one of the floors in the building had packed out early this year while the others remained.
“The building was already sinking, shaking with cracked walls and they have been warned to pack out. When we heard a huge bang and a cloud of dust, we ran out and heard screaming from inside the rubbles; so, we went to dig the people out with our bare hands. But our efforts were futile as the girls were already dead,” he said.
Another neighbour, Kidochi Okonye, said that when they came out at about 12. 30 a.m. and saw what happened, they called the National Emergency Management Agency, the fire service and the Red Cross, but none of them came. He said that Red Cross officials eventually came by 6 a.m. when the dead sisters had been pulled out and they carried the corpses away.
One of the occupants of the first floor of the collapsed building, who refused to disclose her name, said that they came in by 9 p.m. on Tuesday and saw that their decking had cracked badly.
“My brother went upstairs to warn the Cokers but they did not take heed to the warning and we decided not to sleep in that building. We were seated outside when we heard a bang and started screaming for help. It was so fast that I can’t describe it; I wish I could have helped them, but I just could not,” she said.
Meanwhile, officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency visited the area of the collapsed building this morning and marked eight other structures for demolition. The agency also ordered all occupants of structures near the collapsed building at the Jakande Estate, Isolo in Lagos State to vacate their premises within 48 hours.
Most buildings within the vicinity have structural weaknesses and signs of imminent collapse.
The sad death of these ladies should serve as a warning to other residents living in buildings already having large cracks and showing signs of structural weakness. We know that with the country’s harsh economic conditions, the task of changing accommodation gets tough, but it is better to be safe than sorry. We pray their souls Rest In Peace.
Photo Credit: Channels TV | Sahara Reporters