‘We Want To See Our Loved Ones Dead Or Alive’- Families Of Collapsed Ikoyi Building Victims

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Families of collapsed Ikoyi building victims has demanded to see their loved ones dead or alive.

According to The Nation, the families made the request on Thursday three days after the disaster.

‘We Want To See Our Loved Ones Dead Or Alive’- Families Of Collapsed Ikoyi Building Victims
Photo: Relatives waiting for the Government Officials to bring out the body if their family at the collapse building at Ikoyi.

Relatives of victims of the collapsed 21-storey building at Ikoyi, Lagos yesterday demanded to see their loved ones dead or alive, three days after the disaster.

The high-rise structure, which was under construction, was believed to have over 50 people inside, including artisans, guests and workers of the real estate firm. Several people are still feared trapped in the debris, including a pastor and one of the contractors at the site with over 20 of his workers.

I want to know if my son is alive or dead, says father

One of the victims’ family members, Abel Godwin, who came to Lagos from Abuja looking for his teenage son, Emmanuel, said all he wanted was to see his son dead or alive. He has been returning to the site since Tuesday.

He told Governor Sanwo-Olu: “I’ve been to the general hospital to check those that are injured and my son was not found. You promised that I would be able to see my son today (yesterday). I came from Abuja and waited till today.

“Can you please sir grant me access to see bodies that have been recovered? What I actually need now is to know if my son is living or dead so I can return to Abuja and wait for the government to do the needful. I am sincerely begging you sir.”

Another relative, Florence, said her younger brother was also working on the site.

“My younger brother was here. He left the house in the first week of October. I spoke with him last on Sunday. I received a call that something happened. I came yesterday and when I got here, one of his colleagues said he was among the people rescued and rushed to the hospital. It’s the hospital that I don’t know.

“I’ve gone to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Yaba, but I wasn’t allowed in. Yesterday (Wednesday), I went to the General Hospital and the person that I showed pictures confirmed seeing my brother, but that he was unconscious. But I didn’t see him. I want to see him,” she said.

Sanwo-Olu grants special access to father

Governor Sanwo-Olu, however, granted special access to Godwin to check for his son among the bodies so far recovered from the debris. He also assured Florence that names of those in the hospital and those already discharged would be shared with her once she has provided her information at the stand.

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According to the governor, it would be unprofessional to allow anyone inspect the bodies now, but said he would “give an exception to the distraught man who came from Abuja after learning of what had happened”.

He added: “I truly cannot express fully how difficult it would be for you. I remember that I saw you yesterday (Wednesday) and mentioned that probably by today (yesterday) you might be able to see your son. So, two things will happen: we can first pick up your cost of staying here in Lagos till you are able to see your son.

“The second thing is we will do an exception, which is one of the things that we do not want to do. We have pictures of the bodies and so you could sit with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health in a separate location and you can view the pictures.

“Like I said, it is because we want to do things properly, and properly means let’s do it officially with the pathologist in the event that we need to present this as a criminal case.”

Developer’s assistants identified

Two of developer Femi Osibona’s personal assistants identified as Nifemi and Onyinye Enekwe, 26, were among those trapped when the building collapsed.

Rescuers on Tuesday night confirmed the recovery of a woman’s body believed to be an assistant to the developer, a development that saw friends and acquaintances of both women mourning them.

Enekwe, it was gathered, started working with the company on Friday, three days before the disaster. She was said to be preparing for her marriage next month.

A native of Ajali, Anambra State, Enekwe had her secondary education at Baptist Science Grammar School, Jos, Plateau State.

Unconfirmed report indicated that her new job, which came with a salary of N150,000 per month, also provided her accommodation on the island to reduce transportation cost.

From statistics released by emergency workers, only one female was among the nine victims rescued alive.

Although none of their names were among the survivors listed by Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday, Enekwe’s younger brother, Dave, yesterday evening dismissed social media reports that she was dead.

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According to him, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, graduate was not dead yet, urging people to pray for her.

He wrote: “Guys this is my immediate elder sister. She recently just got this job. You all should please pray for her. Pray for her to keep fighting. She will survive…she’s not dead yet.”

Similarly, her cousin, Chinedu Enekwe, who also confirmed Onyinye worked with the company, said: “Monday was the last time anyone in my family saw my cousin Onyinye before she headed off to work at the now collapsed Fourscores building in Ikoyi. No one should have to go through this; no family should be kept in the dark.”

On her Facebook page, her friends prayed that reports about her death were false, just as torrents of tributes poured on her Instagram page.

Building collapse will enhance speedy passage of code, says NIOB

Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), Cross River chapter, Mr., Ekpenyong Ekpenyong, yesterday said the Ikoyi building collapse should enhance the speedy passage of a building code for the nation.

Ekpenyong, who was reacting to the collapse of the 21-storey building in Ikoyi, Lagos, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.

The chairman said the speedy hearing and passage of the building code would ensure that professional builders are brought on board in building sites, adding that no professional would want to lose his certification.

He maintained that different professionals have different responsibilities, but in Nigeria, an architect for example, wants to do the job of an engineer and a builder put together with one or two quacks he calls foremen.

COMEG, NMGS demand inclusion in panel

The Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG) and Nigerian Mining and Geosciences society (NMGS) yesterday asked to be included in the panel set up to investigate the collapsed building.

The two professional bodies said the geotechnical properties of soils ultimately determine the type of foundation and structures that can be safely placed on any soil.

They said their inclusion in the panel would enable them study the subsurface of the soil the building was constructed on in relation to the phenomenon, which falls strictly in the purview of geologists.

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A statement by COMEG Registrar/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Prof. Zacheus Opafunso and NMGS President Alabo Charles, said while they appreciate the prompt setup of the independent panel by the Lagos State government, they would advise that COMEG and NMGS professionals should be included on the panel in view of the following and other reasons: “The success of any construction project is dependent on the underlying foundation soil. Soils have a myriad of dynamics which could be at play and affect substructures even when foundation type might be right such as seismicity, liquefaction etc. and these dynamics are best studied/investigated by geologists.

“In the advent of disasters such as these, studies of the subsurface in relation to the phenomenon are of importance and these falls strictly in the purview of geologists.

“We hereby use this medium to appeal and call the attention of all concerned to the regulation of the COMEG and relevance of NMGS to civil constructions.

“It is hoped that the findings and lessons learnt from this exercise would assist government to formulate a better response to building development and ensure that civil projects serve their full design life in continuous safety.”

Ortom sympathises with Lagos, victims’ families

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has sent his heartfelt sympathy to Sanwo-Olu, the government and people of Lagos State as well as families of victims of the disaster.

Ortom described the incident, which left more than 33 persons dead and many others injured as sad, unfortunate and shocking, especially at a time like this.

In a statement by his media aide, Nath Ikyur, Ortom urged that proper investigations be carried out by relevant agencies to ascertain the cause of the collapse and make efforts to bring the violators of the building codes to book to serve as a deterrent.

He also commiserated with families, who lost their loved ones in the disaster and prayed that God comforts them for the irreparable loss.

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