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More than a month after Ikoyi high-rise collapse, family await news on breadwinner’s whereabouts

By Dennis Erezi
11 December 2021   |   11:51 am
Adejuwon Ogunfuwa’s husband Oladuni was an engineer working on the site of a high-rise that collapsed on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, in October. She had called her husband who often resumed work there on Monday to return home on Fridays. He did not pick. That, she said, "was the beginning of the ugly story that refused…
Engr. Oladunni Ogunfuwa

Engr. Oladunni Ogunfuwa, one of the workers at the collapsed Ikoyi high-rise building in October

Adejuwon Ogunfuwa’s husband Oladuni was an engineer working on the site of a high-rise that collapsed on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, in October.

She had called her husband who often resumed work there on Monday to return home on Fridays. He did not pick. That, she said, “was the beginning of the ugly story that refused to end.”

“All of a sudden, I received a call from one of our pastors who had heard the news of the collapsed building,” Adejuwon told The Guardian.

“He (the pastor) knows that my husband worked at a site in the Island, but was not sure which particular one. He asked if I had heard from him. He told me he had called his phone but it was switched off.”

“I called my husband and the phone was switched off. I reached out to all our pastors to let them be aware of the development. Quickly, one of our pastors rushed to the site and discovered that the news was real.”

Like other families, there seems to be no glimmer of hope that Adejuwon would see Oladuni anymore, whether alive or dead.

“I am yet to hear any news about my husband,” Adejuwon said. “We have been to where bodies were deposited at the morgue and not found anything.”

Days have turned a month since the 21-storey building collapsed, leading to the death of more than 40 people with many more yet unaccounted for.

The last casualty update from the building collapse came on Wednesday, November 10. Since then nothing has been told to the public after the government asked families to identify bodies recovered from the site.

Many people who had relatives trapped in the collapsed Lekki high-rise building had hopes of seeing their loved ones again when the Lagos State Government commenced a rescue operation at the incident site. Sadly, their hope is fast fading away.

While the sad reality is beyond her control, Adejuwon has to face mounting questions from her children “who keep asking about their dad’s whereabouts.”

It is “becoming unbearable,” she said.

She is appealing to the Lagos State Government and all concerned authorities to look into finding Oladuni’s body and other victims of the building collapse.

“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy and everyone involved in the issue Lagos State are enjoined to please find my husband and others,” Adejuwon said.

Sola Omotoso, a worker in the same church as Oladuni, said they were both in a meeting on Sunday, a day before the incident.

He was at the collapsed building site to confirm the news.

“I was at the site at Ikoyi for three consecutive days waiting to hear news about him,” Omotoso said.

“I was there till 11:00 pm every day. I saw some being rescued and I saw some carried out dead. But till date, we are yet to hear news about our brother and pastor.”

Lagos State information commissioner Gbenga Omotoso announced that the identification of the bodies of the victims, who died in the 21-storey building at Ikoyi Lagos, has continued at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos Mainland.

He disclosed that the identification exercise is being conducted with samples of DNA submitted by 32 families so far.
However, Sola said the family has submitted all information that the government. There is no feedback yet.

“We have submitted all his details at the Information Centre put in place by the government, but we are yet to hear any information,” Sola said.

He urged the government to say something about the situation, saying “the silence is killing everyone gradually.”

Olawale Akin, who knew Oladunni, said the government has gone to sleep on the issue as “families should not be left in limbo.”

He says, “governance is about empathy.”