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I jumped from second storey before the building came down

By Eniola Daniel
18 January 2020   |   4:18 am
A mother of five, Amarachi Ogonna, her children and two other persons yesterday escaped death by whiskers from the second Lagos building collapse in 2020.

• Woman, Her Five Children, Two Others Escape By Whiskers In Collapsed Lagos Building
• Contractor Used 8mm Rods Size

A mother of five, Amarachi Ogonna, her children and two other persons yesterday escaped death by whiskers from the second Lagos building collapse in 2020. The three-storey building collapsed at Ugochukwu Omeja, Street, Okota, Lagos.

Ogonna had returned from Abia State in the early hours of Friday, January 17, 2020 after the Yuletide celebrations and was at home with her five children taking a nap before the sound of cracks in the building aroused her curiosity. According to her, she quickly ordered her daughter with her other four siblings to leave the building while she stays indoor to observe what was going on.

Amarachi who’s in her early-40s, told The Guardian: “This happened this morning (yesterday). Though, the building had been cracking, I didn’t know that it would lead to a collapse because when you look at the building, it looks very strong and nothing could make us suspect that it could collapse.

“This morning, I arrived Lagos from my state (Abia) around 5.00 a.m and woke up my children. They were all happy to see me and were asking me what I brought for them. While we were talking, I suddenly heard the sound of something cracking and I noticed that part of the room was collapsing.

“My daughter suggested it could be rats running around, but when the wall fell, I asked them to leave the room and enter another room. I went to meet them and we continued with our discussion. But while the discussion was going on, my daughter raised an alarm that it seemed the whole building was collapsing. I asked the children to quickly exit the building and sit down far away so I could study the situation.”

She continued: “I stood by the balcony, checking whether my last son was there. I heard a sound like waves and immediately, I noticed the building was coming down, I jumped from the second storey where I was and as soon as I touched down, the whole building also came down. So, the dust covered everywhere and I was hearing my daughter’s voice crying and calling me, thinking I was dead. So, I forced myself to stand up to prevent them approaching the rubbles in search of me.

She added: “One of the boys staying in the house could not get out on time, so the building collapsed on him but he is still alive.

“I lost everything in the building. The wrapper on me was given to me by someone, but I only thank God that my five children and I and the two other neighbours are alive.”

On when she started living in the uncompleted building, she said: “It’s not up to a year I came to this place. I didn’t rent it actually. I had a problem where I was staying, so I was looking for accommodation but the money I had on me was not really enough. So I was looking for a place just to stay for some time until I could raise money to look for a better accommodation. The owner of this building, who is currently in the east, said I could stay for some time.

“I don’t know the name of the owner of the building, I only call him Doctor.”

The Lagos State Emergency Management (LASEMA) officials, whose timely intervention rescued the man trapped in the building, took him to the hospital.

The Guardian discovered that the contractor used 8mm roads for the building and less cement, which could be one of the reasons the building collapsed in the swampy area.