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Nigeria building collapse death toll rises to 10

LAGOS (AFP) – The death toll from a building collapse in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos has risen to 10, including a young boy, officials said yesterday.

The three-storey building, which was mainly residential, collapsed late Sunday in the Ebute-Metta area of the sprawling city of over 20 million people.

Eight bodies were initially pulled from the rubble, along with dozens of survivors, Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told AFP.

“Two additional bodies, including a four-year-old boy and a female youth corps member, were recovered yesterday, making 10 deaths,” Farinloye said yesterday.

He said one additional person was rescued on Monday, bringing the number of survivors to 24.

The Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the new toll, saying that the survivors sustained “varying degrees of injury”.

Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a collapsed three-storey building in Ebutte-Metta in Lagos Nigeria. PHOTO: AP

Rescue agencies said the ground and first floors of the building were used as a warehouse while the remaining floors were residential.

Farinloye said an investigation was under way to determine the cause of the collapse.

Building collapses are common in Africa’s most populous nation, where millions live in dilapidated structures and construction standards are often flouted.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday called for stepped-up construction standards.

“The frequency of building collapses in the country has become increasingly embarrassing, the relevant state authorities must work closely with professional bodies to put a halt to these unfortunate but preventable incidents,” he said.

Building standards have been in the spotlight since a high-rise building under construction collapsed in Lagos in November last year, killing at least 45 people.

And in January, three people, including two children, were killed and another 18 rescued when a church collapsed in southern Delta state. Bad workmanship, low-quality materials and corruption to bypass official oversight are often blamed for Nigerian building disasters.

Since 2005, at least 152 buildings have collapsed in Lagos, according to a South African
university researcher.