Man escapes death as two-storey building collapses in Lagos
A middle-aged man, Emeka Mba, yesterday, escaped death by whiskers when a two-storey building collapsed at 15, Oke Arin Street, Ilupeju Palmgroove area of Lagos.
The building belonging to Christ Divine Apostolic Church collapsed at about 12.00 midnight.
According to the residents, the building had been distressed for almost a year, giving signs of collapse, but the landlord who is the son of the late founder of the church was still collecting rents.
Also, affected by the collapse were a building at the back of the church and one under construction.
The building at the back of the church is also distressed and belongs to the church.
Emergency workers yesterday indicated that the church will be sealed and undergo an integrity test.
The Guardian learnt that at least three families were still living in the building, contrary to reports by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), that the two-storey building had been abandoned.
Although no life was lost in the incident, the investigation revealed that the building caved in due to old age.
A resident, Blessing Mba, said: “There were four flats in the building and a school on the ground floor.
“The building started collapsing in the kitchen. So, that alerted us of the danger. My brother was the only person trapped in the building.
“The building had given warning signs long before now and my balcony has fallen twice since I moved into the building three years ago and we had been patching our apartment.
“The landlord, who is currently living in Ijoko, Ogun State, once gave us quit notice, but still collected rent. We’d love to get another apartment, but there is no money. I lost all my belongings in the building.”
A friend of a resident, Biola Safari said: “I was on chat with my friend yesterday and he suddenly went offline, minutes later, he chatted with me to inform me of the incident. So, I called all the emergency numbers of Lagos State, including 716, 112 and all LASEMA numbers , but none of them picked, I called for almost 30 minutes before I gave up.
“I thank God that residents of the street came to the rescue of the people living there.”
When The Guardian visited Mba, who was rescued alive, he said: “I don’t know how I was able to escape, I was buried under the rubbles. I was watching a movie with my boy and the next thing we heard was a sound. A resident beside us started flashing the torch light and I attempted to go out, but I changed my mind and went back inside to check through the window.
“Immediately, I got inside, I discovered that the building was sinking and I asked my mother and the little boy to go out immediately. They left while I remained inside, I took my bag but fell when I was rushing out. I am grateful to God, but I am in pain.”
MEANWHILE, a resident has drawn the attention of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA) to the Mushin, Ilupeju and Onipanu areas of the state as there are other buildings that are old like the collapsed one that might cave in anytime soon.