ABUJA – At least 12 people have died, most of them children, when a three-story building that housed a school collapsed on Wednesday trapping more than 100 under rubble in the southwestern Nigerian city of Lagos, officials said.
Emergency services had rescued more than 50 people from under the rubble, at least eight of whom were injured, after the building came down as primary schoolchildren were attending classes at the moment the building came down, police spokesman Baba Elkana told EFE.
“Ongoing rescue Operations by the Lagos State Rescue Unit at the collapsed building in Lafiaji Area of Lagos Island,” the official Twitter account of the Lagos State Government said.
The school was on the top floor of the building, located on an island at the southwestern end of Lagos Lagoon, which is connected to the rest of the city by bridges.
Prince Adams, a local resident, told local newspaper Punch that he had seen at least 10 pupils being removed from the rubble of the building.
“It is terrible. Parents are crying,” Adams said. “I can’t withstand the gorry sight,” he was cited as saying in the paper’s online edition.
A video of the scene published by Punch showed at least two ambulances surrounded by a large crowd of people.
Ibrahim Farinloye, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency’s southwest region, said there was no immediate information on casualties at the school.
“Apparently the top floor of the building was home to a primary school, raising fears that students were killed or trapped,” local broadcaster Channels said in a news report.
Poor quality buildings collapse with some frequency in Nigeria where rules governing constructions are often not followed properly, officials have said.
A five-story building in Lekki Garden, Lagos, collapsed on March 8, 2016, killing 30 occupants.
According to local reports, police in Lagos arrested the contractor who had been in charge of the building.
In Dec. 2016, at least 60 people were killed by the collapse of a church roof in the city of Uyo, to the east of the country.
In Sept. 2014, some 116 people, including 84 South Africans, were killed in Lagos when a six-story building collapsed during a religious gathering where a well-known television evangelist was preaching.
Lagos is Nigeria’s commercial capital and also Africa’s largest city, and the lagoon opens out to the Gulf of Guinea at the western end of the continent.