Relatives of Nigeria 21-storey collapse victims pray for a miracle

Relatives of Nigeria building collapse victims pray for a miracle as search continues a day after 21-storey block crashed down, killing six and burying 100 more

  • At least six people died and more than 100 were buried when a 21-storey building collapsed in Nigeria 
  • The luxury apartment block had been under construction for two years in the upscale area of Ikoyi, Lagos 
  • Four people were saved and victims’ relatives prayed for a miracle as the rescue mission continued overnight 
  • Angry builders said help did not come for at least two hours after the building collapsed on Monday afternoon
  • A yellow excavator was seen pushing away concrete slabs to search through the wreckage of the building

At least six people died and 100 more were missing in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos after a multi-storey luxury apartment block that was under construction collapsed, trapping workers beneath a pile of rubble.   

Desperate relatives waited for news of missing people after the 21-storey high-rise fell down on Monday at around 1.30pm in Ikoyi, Lagos. 

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari called for rescue efforts to be stepped up as emergency workers saved four people and worked through the night using excavators to sift rubble in search of more survivors.  

At least six people died and 100 more were missing in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos when a multi-storey luxury apartment block that was under construction collapsed, trapping workers under a pile of rubble

The building was in the Ikoyi district of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos and fell down on Monday at around 1.30pm

A worker wearing an Arsenal football shirt gestures as he complains that the rescue team is late while standing in the rubble

Dozens of angry residents gathered at the site soon after the collapse, many crying and voicing frustration over the slow pace of the rescue efforts

A yellow excavator pushed away concrete slabs to search though the wreckage of the building in Lagos’s wealthy Ikoyi residential and business district

Construction worker Eric Tetteh, 41, was inside the building and said the builders were waiting for an excavator to arrive at the site when the building suddenly crumbled into a heap of debris. Pictured: Rescue workers at the site of the collapse

Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency said four people had been rescued so far and four bodies recovered from the site. Pictured: Rescue workers at the site on Monday. Pictured: Rescue workers carry a body away

Six people were confirmed dead while four people were rescued from the collapsed building. Pictured: Rescue workers carry a body away

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu called for calm late on Monday, as rescue efforts continued after dark. Pictured: Rescue workers are seen at the site of a collapsed apartment building under construction beside a Lagos fire truck

Rescue workers raced against the clock to dig up victims at the site in the affluent neighbourhood of Ikoyi, where many blocks of flats are under construction

Brothers Fawas Sanni, 21 and Afolabi Sanni, 17, were waiting for news of their 25-year-old-sister Zainab, who has worked on the construction site for just two months.

‘Our sister is inside,’ said Fawas, in tears. 

‘I was the last one who to spoke to her before she went to work yesterday morning,’ said the older brother, covering his head with his hands.  

Two excavators were digging in the pile of concrete early on Tuesday.

Across the street from the site, Moses Oladipo, 65, was waiting for news from his 50-year-old son, who has three children.

‘He just came here to visit his friend, before his flight back to the US where he lives,’ said the father, crouching on the ground, close to the entrance.

‘They rescued a man last night. I thought it was him, but no. I still have hope.’

It was not immediately known what caused the collapse. Pictured: Rescue workers at the site of the collapsed apartment building, which had been under construction for around two years

Emergency services (pictured) were ‘on the site, battling to save the lives of those under the rubble,’ Gbenga Omotoso, a spokesman for the governor said

Building collapses are common in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria because of sub-standard materials, negligence and the flouting of construction regulations. Pictured: Rescue personnel at the site of the collapse in Lagos

Emergency services worked through the night in a bid to find more survivors in the rubble. They are using yellow excavators to shift through the rubble

State officials watch on as emergency teams continue their work at night. Relatives are hoping for a miracle as more than 100 people remained missing on Tuesday

Construction workers had initially comaplained that no one came to help them for two hours after the building collapsed

A rescue official directed safety officials at the site of the collapsed building in a bid to bolster the efforts of the team working to search for survivors

Emergency team members and construction workers sat beside fire engine and an ambulance as the search for survivors continued through the night

The collapsed building had been under construction for around two years and was part of three towers being built by private developer Fourscore Homes, which promised in a client brochure to provide ‘a stress-free lifestyle, complete with a hotel flair’. 

The cheapest unit was selling for $1.2 million (£879,000).

Olayemi Bello said five of his friends were trapped in the building at the time of the collapse and said he feared the worst. 

‘When they work finish, they will come outside and they will play with us and talk about the work.

‘Now, nobody,’ he said. 

‘All of them are dead.’

Lagos state police said it was too early to determine why the Ikoyi building collapsed.

However, Lagos emergency management agency manager Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu said there were rules broken during its construction.

He said: ‘We are going to get to the roots of the matter to prevent a recurrence. 

‘So far six bodies have been recovered, four pulled out alive while three others with minor injuries have been treated.’

He added: ‘All responders are on the ground as search and rescue is ongoing.’ 

Femi Oke-Osanyintolu is an official with Lagos State emergency management agency. He said: ‘We cannot say at this moment how many are dead. The rescue operation is ongoing’

Obafemi Hamzat, deputy governor of Lagos, was met on his arrival at the site by angry youths who accused authorities of failing to immediately launch rescue efforts

Rescue workers raced against the clock to dig up victims at the site in the affluent neighbourhood of Ikoyi, where many blocks of flats are under construction.

But dozens of angry residents gathered at the site soon after the collapse, many crying and voicing frustration over the slow pace of the rescue efforts.

Obafemi Hamzat, deputy governor of Lagos, was met on his arrival at the site by angry youths who accused authorities of failing to immediately launch rescue efforts. 

‘For the past two hours since it collapsed nobody came here,’ one angry worker shouted towards him. 

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu called for calm late on Monday, as rescue efforts continued after dark.

Emergency services were ‘on the site, battling to save the lives of those under the rubble,’ Gbenga Omotoso, a spokesman for the governor said. 

Ikoyi, in Lagos, Nigeria, is known as Africa’s most valuable and treasured real estate. Nigeria is the most populous country in the continent

Workers at the site, some covered in dust, said dozens of their colleagues could have been inside when the building collapsed.  

Four construction workers at the site said dozens of their colleagues were inside when the building crumbled.

‘Like 40 people were inside, I see 10 bodies because I climbed up,’ said Peter Ajagbe, 26, one local worker on the site.

‘One of my partners is dead.’

Taiwo Sule, 21, another worker, said he had seen five bodies on top of the collapsed building, where he had tried to help recover them. 

Construction worker Eric Tetteh, 41, was inside the building and said the builders were waiting for an excavator to arrive at the site when the building suddenly crumbled into a heap of debris.

He said: ‘Me and my brother, we escaped, but more people are there, more than 100 people.’

Wisdom John, 28, a bricklayer, said he escaped with just a few cuts because he had been on the ground floor when the building collapsed into a pile of concrete, its floors sandwiched together.

‘There was more than 50 working today and the manager too,’ he said, sitting in an ambulance getting treated. ‘We just ran out.’

Construction worker Latif Shittu added: ‘I feel so bad because the people that are inside they have family.’ 

Building collapses are frequent in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole, where regulations are poorly enforced and construction materials often substandard. 

One of Nigeria’s worst building disasters was in 2014 when more than 100 people, mostly South Africans, died when a church guesthouse crumbled in Lagos.

An inquiry found the building had been built illegally and had structural flaws.

Two years later, at least 60 people were killed when a roof fell in on a church in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state in the east of the country.

Telephone calls to numbers listed for Fourscore Homes and the main building contractor did not ring through.

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