On Wednesday, the 13th of April, 2023, a seven-story building under construction collapsed in Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos. The building, which had not been approved by the Lagos State Government, was owned by a wealthy businessman who reportedly did not follow the necessary building regulations and safety standards. The tragic incident has led to the loss of one life, with 25 others rescued and taken to hospitals in the area.
Following the incident, the Lagos State Government activated its emergency response system, with officials from the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and other emergency services responding to the scene. The rescue operation was carried out in a timely and efficient manner, with the first responders able to locate and rescue the victims trapped in the rubble.
The rescue operation was, however, not without its challenges. The building’s location on the island meant that there were accessibility issues, and the area’s congestion made it difficult for emergency services to navigate the area. Despite these challenges, the emergency services were able to quickly respond to the scene, and the rescue operation was carried out successfully.
The Lagos State Government has since released a statement on the incident, confirming that one body has been recovered from the rubble. The deceased was an adult male who had not been accounted for by the site supervisors. According to the Commissioner of Information, Gbenga Omotosho, the site has been divided into quadrants for a thorough search and rescue operation. The excavation of the site is ongoing, and the architectural designs are being used to aid the process.
The statement further confirms that 25 people were rescued from the site when the building collapsed, and they are all in good health. The site supervisors had done a roll call, and everyone was accounted for, except for the victim whose body was found on Friday morning. As of the time the roll call was taken, it was unclear whether the victim was on the site. The search and rescue operation will continue until all victims are accounted for.
The incident has raised questions about building regulations and safety standards in Lagos. The Lagos State Government has confirmed that the building in question had not been approved, and investigations are ongoing to determine why the construction was allowed to continue. The government has also urged property developers and owners to ensure that their buildings comply with the necessary regulations and safety standards.
The incident has also highlighted the importance of emergency response systems in Lagos. The Lagos State Government has invested heavily in emergency response services, and the swift response of the emergency services to the Banana Island incident is a testament to the effectiveness of the system. However, there is still room for improvement, particularly in the area of accessibility, as the congestion in Lagos can make it difficult for emergency services to reach certain areas.
The tragedy has also brought attention to the importance of occupational health and safety in Nigeria. Construction is a high-risk industry, and workers are often exposed to hazardous working conditions. The lack of proper training, equipment, and safety standards means that workers are often at risk of injury or death. It is, therefore, important for employers and the government to prioritize occupational health and safety in the country.
The Banana Island building collapse is not the first of its kind in Lagos. A building under construction collapsed in the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ikotun claimed many lives years ago. The incident led to calls for stricter building regulations and safety standards in Lagos, but its little has been done to address the issue.
The government must take immediate action to prevent such incidents from happening again. This includes strengthening building regulations and safety standards, enforcing compliance, and holding property developers and owners accountable for any violations. It also means investing in emergency response services and ensuring that emergency services have the necessary equipment and resources to respond to incidents quickly and efficiently.
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