At least sixteen people have died in Nigeria’s economic hub, Lagos after a multi-storey under-construction building collapsed on Monday, authorities said.
According to witnesses about 100 are feared trapped inside at the construction site, located on Gerald Road in the city’s Ikoyi neighbourhood. Search and rescue operations were carried out through the night in search of the survivors.
“Currently all responders are on the ground as search and rescue is ongoing,” Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the general manager of the Lagos state emergency management agency was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“Four people were rescued alive and three more treated for minor injuries at the scene,” he said.
“I thought it was an earthquake when I rushed out of my apartment just after 3 pm I felt the building move and knew something was wrong,” Olu Apata, a nearby resident and the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, told CNN.
Muhammad, a civil servant who was working in his office in the neighbourhood, said, “We just heard an unusual loud sound from our office building and the building we’re occupying was vibrating.
“So, I looked through the window, only to see the building collapsing floor after floor. And of course, we all ran to safety,” he told CNN.
As the rescue efforts started several hours after the collapse, the officials arriving at the scene were confronted by crowds of angry people, reported the Associated Press.
Eric Tetteh, who worked as a construction worker at the site, told the news wire agency that while he and his brother managed to escape, he estimated about 100 people were trapped inside the building.
Femi Adesina, a special advisor to President Muhammadu Buhari, said the president “commiserates with families who have lost loved ones”, the BBC reported.
The crumbled multi-storey building was part of three towers which was developed by a private company, Fourscore Homes, which in its brochure, promised the client to provide “a stress-free lifestyle, complete with a hotel flair”.
The high-rise apartment had been under construction for about two years. The Lagos state government in a statement said that it has started a probe in the cause of the collapse, with officials on the ground ascertaining the possible damage to the surrounding structures.
Building and structure collapse are relatively common in Lagos, due to weak enforcement of the building code regulations, AP reported.
Additional reporting from PA