Several labourers were trapped yesterday underneath a collapsed building on Isopakodowo Street Cairo Market, Oshodi, Lagos about 8.30am. The collapsed building in question happened to be under construction when the incident occurred. About 10 workers were said to have been working on the site when the building collapsed, while some of the workers were rescued, about 4 of the said workers have already been confirmed dead, According to Ayo Ojudu, a rescue team member from the NSCDC among the 12 people rescued from the rubble in Oshodi some died on their way to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja. About 3.00 pm, the Police ordered the crowd to leave the scene to give the rescue team space to operate.
In 2009, more than ten buildings collapsed in the state. A four-story building at Ojerinde Street, Idi-Araba, collapsed and killed more than five people in March last year. Also last year, a 59-year-old woman, Rita Umunnakwe, died when a wall opposite her house at 4 Bada Street collapsed and crushed her to death.
While Lagosians may have expected that these episodes of recurring building collapses were a thing of the past, they may be in for a shock, earlier on Sunday, a two storey building collapsed on 78, Smith Street, Lagos Island leaving nine people injured. The building adjacent Massey Children Hospital caved in around 5pm, this led to the Governments’ decision to demolish yet another building in the same location. A similar incident happened at the railway terminus at Ido, when a two-story building collapsed and killed more than ten people. The building that collapsed on Monday was said to have crumbled in a twinkle of an eye but what makes the incident both tragic and comical is the fact that the building that collapsed was still UNDER CONSTRUCTION. It begs the question what kinds of materials do Lagosians use in construction?
While Nigerians and Lagosians may choose to blame the Government for every vice in the Country, people should realise that they have to take responsibility for their actions and their choices especially the ones that affect their lives.
Amazingly one of the favourite hobbies of most Nigerians when tragedies like this happen is to play the blame game. The head of labourers, Mr. Olowo attributed the collapse to fetish practices of the former owners of the property.
“We know say this land na some people get am before dem come take am from their hand to build market,” he said. “This kind thing, the people no fit dey happy and peace no go dey, even self we remove plenty juju (charms) wey dem don bury under the ground, as we dey work na so we go dey see orise rise sacrifice wey dem put so I feel say na these people na them make this building come collapse.” Placing blame on the Government, supernatural forces, neighbours or suspect number one (Devil) may not do any good in situations like this and certainly isn’t the path to change.
Of course in truth it isn’t possible to exempt the Government of all of the blame, the Government should inspect buildings and materials used for construction as the safety of her citizens is her responsibility. Besides more immediate response may have saved at least some of those who died under the rubble.
Altogether these events serve as reminders and warnings to Nigerians especially Lagosians who intend to construct building to be prudent and think in terms of the long range consequences of their cost-cutting measures. It’s wiser to preserve life than save money.
By: Obanor Chukwuwezam Rio