Vanguard (Lagos)

30 October 2011

Nigeria: Lagos Collapsed Building - We Escaped By the Whiskers - Survivors

But for warning signals from the five storey building in Maryland area of Lagos which collapsed, on Thursday, many occupants would have been trapped and possibly killed.

The building which housed many companies reportedly gave cracking sounds that forced the occupants to flee, many abandoning their personal effects.

Some survivors spoke weekend just as the demolition of the structure, located at 11, Aderibigbe Street, by Lagos State government officials continued.

Organisations housed by the building prior to the Thursday's collapse included Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), SCIB Nigeria and Company Limited, Okay God Investment Limited, Clear Concept Limited, PMG Limited, Jira and Associates, and Delons Engineering Service Limited.

The structure fell at 6p.m. while scores of the occupants were still in office.

A worker in one of the companies in the building, who identified herself simply as Biola, said there had been cracks in the structure for months, following which complaints were lodged with the landlord, reportedly a teacher at Yaba College of Technology.

But, according to her, the building at about 3p.m. on Thursday began to shake violently suggesting imminent collapse, making occupants still left in their offices to run for their lives.

The shaking reportedly continued until the house went down at 6p.m.

Another occupant claimed it was the pillars that first gave way before the entire building followed suit.

Mr Dele Ogunruku, a friend to Mr Bola Idowu, the Chief Executive Officer of Delone Engineering, who was visiting at the time of the incident, said the warning signs gave the occupants the opportunity to escape.

Ogunruku said: "I was there to visit my friend when all of a sudden we heard loud cracking sounds around 3:00 pm. It was at that point that everybody started running out of the building."

He said the building had been experiencing some problems, like leakages in the ceiling years which the landlord fixed last year. Ogunruku added that earlier on Thursday, the landlord had come to check some parts of the laces that needed repairs.

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