A Photo collage of the collapsed building in the Ikoyi Area of Lagos State. Source: Facebook/LASEMA
The acting Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, Dr Sokunle Soyemi, on Thursday disclosed that five deceased victims of the 21-storey building which collapsed on Nov. 1, 2021 at Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos are yet to be identified.
The pathologist made the disclosure while testifying at the Coroner’s Court sitting in the Ikeja area.
“There were 50 victims of the collapsed building (47 male and three female),45 have so far been identified and their ages range from 18 to 56-years,” he said.
“So far we have identified 45 bodies out of 50. The autopsies revealed that 40 deceased persons had multiple injuries as the cause of death.
“Six had injuries to the head alone and died. One had a bilateral fracture of the femure, the pathologist testified.”
Soyemi also said that autopsies on the bodies commenced on Nov. 4, 2021 and lasted for 13-days until Nov. 13, 2021.
He said the remains were put in 53 body bags.
On the physical state of the corpses, the pathologist said the bodies could not be visually identified and samples had to be taken from the bodies for testing at the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Center.
“After about a month, we started receiving results from the lab. As we were receiving the results we were also releasing the bodies to families and up till now, we are still releasing bodies.
“At present of the 45 identified bodies, 42 have been released to family members while the remaining three have not been collected by family members.
“When there was a call for family members to come and donate samples, some people who were not related to the deceased came forward and the samples could not match.
“We had to call again for new samples from family members which came in about two weeks ago,” he added.
Soyemi in his evidence revealed that he never visited the site of the collapsed building during the course of his duties. He also noted that death certificates have been issued for the deceased.
The coroner, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe has adjourned proceedings until tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 18 for the continuation of hearing.
Almost 24 hours after a building caved in the Yaba area of Lagos, there are indications that one or two persons might still be trapped in the rubble as family members of the said victims returned to the scene on Sunday morning looking for their loved ones.
This has prompted emergency management officials into making plans to resume the rescue operation after it was called off earlier in the day.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA, Femi Oke Osanyintolu, said emergency workers will continue to comb the rubble to see if anyone could still be brought out alive.
Dolapo Odunekan, a student on industrial training is believed to be one of those at the site when the building collapsed. Dolapo’s family members are still on the ground waiting for the rescue operations to resume. They have called his phone number many times without a response.
Earlier in the day, four persons were confirmed dead in the incident with the Lagos State Government saying the developer has been arrested
In a tweet on its handle, the government explained that was the developer was “arrested for breaking the government seal on the property and violating the stop-work order”.
“The developer in charge of the site has since been arrested and handed over to the RRS Team, while rescue operation is ongoing,” it tweeted on Sunday.
The recent incident is happening about three months after a high-rise collapsed in the Lekki part of the state. Experts say the incessant cases of building collapse in the state are due to lax regulations and sharp practices on the part of the developers.
Saturday’s incident is the latest in the rising cases of building collapse in Lagos State. In November, at least 40 persons were killed following the collapse of a high-rise in the Ikoyi area of the commercial city.
“This is an event that could be described clearly as a national disaster. Mistakes were made from all angles,” the Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said at that time, maintaining that such an event “really should not be happening in a modern-day city like Lagos”.
Experts blame loopholes in regulations and sharp practices by developers for the incessant collapse of buildings.
The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) has told a coroner inquest inquiring into the Nov.1 collapse of the 21-storey building at Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos that construction of the three high-rise blocks began months before provisional approval was granted.
Counsel for LASBCA, Mr A.S Odugbemi, made the assertion while questioning Mr Muritala Olawale, the Managing Director of Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd.
Olawale was a former consultant structural engineer to the project. He withdrew his services via a letter dated Feb. 20, 2020, over disputes on how the project was structurally executed.
At the coroner’s proceedings, Odugbemi disputed the contents of paragraph 17 of Olawale’s Statement on Oath to the Inquest stating that late Femi Osibona, the Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Ltd, had informed his team that he had received provisional approval for the project’s construction.
“The tribunal began formal interviews with witnesses from Tuesday, 16th November 2021, in order to identify the roles played in the activities that led to the collapse of the building and received the report from the consultants who conducted verticality tests on the remaining structures standing in the premises of the collapsed building. The results of the tests on the construction materials are still being awaited,” Ayinde said.
“The interviews conducted have been recorded for the purpose of record-keeping, and the tribunal would meet as many as are willing to present credible and factual statements, with evidence(s), relating to the collapse.
“The tribunal’s mode of communication would be to brief the media through press releases as and when required, so that the public may be aware of the conduct of the proceedings. As we proceed, we expect your cooperation and we hope that we will, together with all stakeholders, be able to solve this problem on a permanent basis.”
The tribunal which consists of six professionals in the private sector was set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and began sitting immediately after its inauguration on Thursday, November 4.
See the press statement issued by the Tribunal below:
FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY THE TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY INTO THE COLLAPSE OF THE 21-STOREY BUILDING AT 44 BCD, GERRARD ROAD, IKOYI ON MONDAY, 22ND NOVEMBER, 2021 AT THE SECRETARIAT OF THE TRIBUNAL, LASWA TERMINAL BUILDING, FIVE COWRIE CREEK, IKOYI-LAGOS
You will all recall the sad incident of the collapse of a 21-floor structure at 44 B,C,D Gerrard Road in Ikoyi area of Lagos State, where a number of our compatriots lost their lives. Our hearts go out to the bereaved families and we should at this point observe a moment’s silence in honour of these fellow citizens. We pray that God would repose the souls of the departed.
Following the unfortunate incident, the Governor of Lagos State inaugurated a 6-man Tribunal of Inquiry for the purpose of:
a) Determining the cause(s) of the collapse of the 21-storey building under construction;
b) Determining whether there was full compliance with the Physical Planning, building, building materials testing, Laws and regulations in Lagos State by the developer or by any other person;
c) Determining whether there was any supervisory, oversight or enforcement lapses on the part of any of the relevant regulatory authorities in the State;
d) Investigating and procuring from all listed professionals on the project their contracts of service, drawings, minutes of site meetings, schedules and all other relevant documents that may assist in the inquiry;
e) Investigating and conducting necessary tests on materials used for the construction of the collapsed building;
f) Obtaining and scrutinizing all project drawings and specifications filed and submitted by the Developer to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and its sister agencies for Building and Urban Development Permits/Approvals with respect to the collapsed building;
g) Making recommendations on how to best ensure the safety of the construction space and prevent building collapse in Lagos State, both for development of projects and to ensure an effective and efficient regulatory environment;
h) Recommending disciplinary action or prosecution of any person or corporate body found culpable, and
i) Investigating any other matters incidental to any of the Terms of Reference stated above.
The Tribunal was given 30 days to complete its task.
The purpose of this Press Conference is to apprise the Press, and the general public, of what the Tribunal has done so far, and what our activities are likely to be in the remaining days ahead.
The Tribunal which comprises six professionals in the private sector, and who are certified members of their professions, began sitting immediately after its inauguration on Thursday, 4th November, 2021. There may have been concerns or agitations about why the Tribunal has not spoken to the Press. We will like to state that members of the Tribunal are professionals, and our calling demands that we make statements from informed and verified positions. We are compelled to speak only when investigations have been made, reports and documents submitted, queried, analysed and discussions held with relevant stakeholders.
So far the activities of the Tribunal have included:
Setting up the Secretariat and arranging logistics for the successful conduct of activities;
A visit to the site of the collapse on Friday, 5th November, for a general assessment of the rescue operations, and to determine areas where expert consultants’ services would be required.
A visit to the General Hospital, Broad Street to interview some of the survivors who could offer some eyewitness accounts.
Engaging the services of consultant building materials testing laboratory for the purpose of addressing item (e) of the TOR;
Engaging the services of a consultant Land Surveyor to conduct verticality tests on the remaining structures within the premises of the collapsed building;
Writing the relevant Government MDA’s to request for all files and documentation relating to the collapsed building.
Writing to all consultants and developer/contractors associated with the project on 44 B,C,D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi; and
Listing more than 30 stakeholders relevant to the construction industry and the collapsed building, whose views, position papers and recommendations would be received and considered. Those that the Tribunal consider necessary to chat with would be invited.
PROCEDURE FOR TRIBUNAL SITTING
The Tribunal would like to state that some documents have been received from some government MDA’s and members have started studying them. We have also interviewed some of the LASG staff in the relevant MDA’s. We however appeal to members of the public, professional bodies and construction industry stakeholders, as well as individuals who have useful information and invite them to submit memoranda which have direct bearing on the particular issue being investigated, as well as their recommendations to prevent future occurrence.
This is where all memoranda, recommendations and submissions can be sent to on or before Wednesday, 24th November, 2021.
The Tribunal began formal interviews with witnesses from Tuesday, 16th November, 2021 in order to identify the roles played in the activities that led to the collapse of the building, and received the report from the consultants who conducted verticality tests on the remaining structures standing in the premises of the collapsed building. The results of the tests on the construction materials are still being awaited.
The interviews conducted have been recorded for the purpose of record-keeping, and the Tribunal would meet as many as are willing to present credible and factual statements, with evidence(s), relating to the collapse.
The Tribunal’s mode of communication would be to brief the Media through Press releases as and when required, so that the public may be aware of the conduct of the proceedings. As we proceed, we expect your cooperation and we hope that we will, together with all stakeholders, be able to solve this problem on a permanent basis.
Four persons have died and five others rescued as a building under construction collapsed in the Badagry area of Lagos State on Wednesday.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), confirmed the figures in an update.
“Nine Casualties who were construction workers were recorded of which five adult males were rescued and taken to the hospital for medical treatment while four adult males were recovered dead from the rubbles and taken to Badagry General Hospital by Police Officers from Area K in the company of family members for documentation,” the agency posted on its social media handle.
Earlier, the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service had said that the victims were rescued with varying degrees of injury but in stable condition and been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.
“However, 4 (four) adults male have been recovered (unconscious) thus far as the Nigerian Police, Morogbo Division, and the community dwellers are complementing the efforts of the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service,” the Director of the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Margaret Adeseye, said about the building located at Sunny Filled, Flour Mills, Estate, Magbon in Badagry.
In the update, the agency said efforts were ongoing to rescue other people trapped in the building.
The casualty figures in the collapsed high-rise in the Ikoyi area of Lagos have reached 42.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State disclosed the figures during a visit to the site on Saturday.
“There are additional six people that we’ve also been able to identify and who were on site when the building collapsed,” he said during the visit.
“They were taken to the Police Hospital in Falomo for treatment and some of them have been discharged. We have taken the full records of survivors in the incident. And this gives a total of 15 people rescued alive. We have a total of 42 bodies that have been recovered.”
While giving further details about the survivors, the Lagos leader gave their names and age as a 38-year-old woman, Glory Samsom; Ndajor Ahmed, Yunusa Abubaka, Ajiboye Habib, Jeremiah Samson, and a man simply identified as Emem.
According to the governor, while many of the survivors sustained wounds of varying degrees, 20-year-old Samson is in a coma.
He said 49 families had so far filled the missing persons’ register as of Saturday morning, explaining that the register had helped in reconciling the details of rescued victims and also medically account for bodies recovered.
Identification of bodies has also started and DNA examination is being undertaken on some of the bodies difficult to be identified by their families, the governor said.
“There is a sum of money that has been reserved by the State Government for succor and to give for befitting burial for those who died in the incident,” Sanwo-Olu noted.
“Families that wish to accept it are being supported for the burial arrangement. Also, survivors in hospitals have been given financial support to help them settle and cope with challenges of feeding in the aftermath of the incident.”
Search and rescue operations have, however, continued.
He was accompanied by the former governor of the state, Bola Tinubu, and Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule.
The Lagos State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have differed on the casualties recorded from the Ikoyi building collapse as rescue efforts continue.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who visited the scene on Thursday, noted that 32 bodies have been recovered from the building collapse.
“As of this afternoon, we have recovered a total of 32 bodies. We are conducting a corona inquest on the bodies and by tomorrow (Friday), we hope the exercise would have been concluded,” the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, quoted his principal as saying.
“That is the deadline we gave to the corona so that the families can come and identify the bodies recovered so far.”
But earlier in the day, NEMA’s Acting Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye had said 38 people were confirmed dead following the collapse of the high-rise, explaining that nine survivors – one female and eight male – were rescued from the rubble.
Amid continued rescue efforts, families and relatives are hanging around the collapsed structure in the high-brow area of Lagos State, waiting for news about their loved ones trapped in the building.
According to Governor Sanwo-Olu, some families have submitted names of missing people, just a day after a register was opened.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we opened a register for people that have missing persons or loved ones whom they believed must have been at the site before the collapse,” the Lagos governor added in a statement by his aide.
“As I speak here, there are only 19 names of missing persons that have been registered. Some of them have pictures, others do not. This list would help us to get information on the manifest of those at the site.”
Before now, Sanwo-Olu had visited some of the survivors who are receiving treatment at the Lagos Island General Hospital.
One of the rescued persons has, however, been moved to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja for advanced medical examination, the governor explained but assured that he is not having a life-threatening condition.
Three of the survivors have been discharged two days ago.
The building, which was under construction, collapsed on Monday with an unconfirmed number of persons feared trapped.
Below is the list of survivors of the Ikoyi building collapse:
1. Odutan Timileyin is a 26-year-old man.
2. Ahmed Kenleku: A 19-year-old man from Cotonou, the Benin Republic.
3. Sunday Monday: The 21-year-old had a leg fracture.
4. Adeniran Mayowa: This survivor, the governor noted, suffered a hip injury.
5. Shola Bade Nurudeen: He is 33 and had a pelvic injury.
6. Waliu Lateef is 32-year-old.
Sanwo-Olu, who described the incident where over 20 persons have died so far as a national disaster, said: “mistakes were made from all angles.”
“This is an event that could be described clearly as a national disaster. Mistakes were made from all angles,” he said, adding that such an event “really should not be happening in a modern-day city like Lagos.”
He also condoled the families and loved ones of victims of the building collapse, assuring that there will be a probe into the matter.
In the wake of the incident, the governor had suspended the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Gbolahan Oki.
“You can be rest assured that if there are other people that are found in the course of the investigation, they will face the full wrath of the law,” the governor added during the visit to the building collapse site.
According to him, there was no manifest to indicate those who were on the building site, a development he said is hindering rescue efforts.
The building – a high-rise under construction by Fourscore Homes, a Lagos-based real estate firm and located along Gerrard Road – collapsed on Monday afternoon.
While it is unclear the number of people in the building at the time of the collapse, witnesses say dozens may have been trapped.