A middle-aged woman and mother of one of the victims of the collapsed 21-storey building located on Gerard Road, Ikoyi Lagos, has claimed she has lost two children in a space of three months.
The woman who was weeping profusely and begging that her son should be brought out of the rubbles either dead or alive said barely three months ago, one of her sons whom she identified as Ade passed on and now, Sesan, another of her son has been involved in the incident that has left more than 21 people dead already.
“I never knew what happened at the site, in this massive building until I got here. My son usually comes home every Sunday; he was involved in this unfortunate incident the day he arrived at work. I am begging the government and the people involved to help me bring my son out either dead or alive, so that I can know my fate,” she said.
Also, another family member of the victim of the collapsed building, who identified himself as Idowu Adeyiga, said the owner of the building is a big brother to him and several others in their home town in Ikene, Ogun State.
He described Femi Osibona as a great philanthropist who was well loved by all.
“My younger brother, Hammed Adeyiga, whom many know as Michael has been acting as a Personal assistant to Osibona whenever he is in the country and he was with him on the day of the incident. We have lost two brothers in the same family,” he lamented.
Earlier, two other family members also informed Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu while addressing journalists that they were yet to know the fate of their family members.
One Jude Obochukwu said, “My brother was still in there; all we want is closure to this case, but they have refused to allow us to get close to the site. We are in serious pain; all we need is early closure.
Also, Abel Godwin said he came from Abuja to look for his son who was among the workers in the collapsed building.
“My son is one of the victims; he is 18 years. I got here since I heard the news. I have not been able to ascertain whether my son is alive. I have been to General hospital and I still was not given access,” he lamented.
Earlier, Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said a seven-man panel has been set up to investigate the cause of the building collapse within 30 days.
He said the panel members who are thorough professionals in their field are drawn from the private sectors.
“I have set up a high powered commission of enquiry and it consists of everybody but outside of government and they have been given a 30-day assignment to identify what has gone wrong on the collapsed building.
“The members of the panel are Town Planner Tayo Ayinde who is the current president of Town Planners Institute of Nigeria; Dr. Akintilo Idriss Adeleke, the foremost structural engineer in Nigeria; Architect Yinka Ogundairo; Builder Godfrey O. Godfrey and Mrs. Bunmi Ibrahim, a lawyer and property developer, while the secretary of the panel is Ekundayo Onajobi. And I am going to sign an Executive Order to give a legal backing to their composition and make their report known within 30 days,” Governor Sanwo-Olu stated.
While condoling with the family of those who lost their lives at the 21-storey building, Sanwo-Olu said the incident was a clear national disaster, noting that mistakes were made from all angles and there were things that were not supposed to be happening in a modern day city like Lagos.
“I want to also thank and commend the first responders that are being here almost two days now to see how they can bring out many survival possibly and it has been a difficult journey for every one of them and our government appreciates their work and would continue to ensure that whatever needed to be done to get to root cause of the issue.
“Since I came back from abroad where I was attending an event, active work has been going on at the site and we have created a camp where family members are to register the names of their missing loved ones and their contact phone numbers.
“It was also on record that we have asked the managing director of building control agency to go on indefinite suspension; we have to take action against the head of the agency and we are rest assured that if there are other people culpable, they would also face the full wrath of the law.
“We are still conducting a search and rescue operations. We are pumping in oxygen and water intermediately into the debris so that those who are still under can survive.
“We do not know when this would be completed, or how long it’s going to take. I can assure you we have enough resources and men who will continue to stay there until we can rescue all and the last person out of the rubble. Hope is all we require at this moment.
“We will continue to do the best that we can; this is not a typical search and rescue building collapse, it is a total floor by floor, all coming down; there is no pillar in any form, it is a total drop of floor by floor. It is a very really tough exercise that is being done.
“We felt for the family, people are indeed upset and not comfortable. I can assure them that we are doing everything humanly possible.
“What we are going to do for the corpses that had been recovered is to identify corpses. Right now as we speak, we are conducting autopsy and we believe that before the end of today or sometimes tomorrow, the corpses should be ready for pick-up for the family members.