Tragedy has struck yet again as the collapse of a school fence, has led to the death of two minors, 3year-old Samat Saheed and a nine-year-old girl at Ajose Street, in the Amukoko area of Lagos State.
Gatekeepers News reports that the girl who is yet to be identified was walking past the front of the school to link her destination in the area while Samat was playing around the fence of the school which is close to his mother’s shop when the fence suddenly collapsed on them.
The school, Covenant Point Academy’s fence caved in, fell and crushed Samat’s head, killing him instantly, while the nine-year-old girl lost consciousness and reportedly died shortly after the incident.
An eyewitness known as Ganiyu Ayeloja, said residents, traumatised, informed the police, and that the owner of the school had been arrested.
He said, “The police came around and they arrested the owner of the school building. The building has no pillars, they just stacked blocks. The building was not well structured at all; there was no wiring, no pillar, and nothing to hold the building together that’s why it fell easily.
“It is unfortunate that the two children were around that area when it collapsed. One of the children’s parents had a shop close to the school building, that was why he was there and his parents were immediately alerted.”
“The Oba of Ijora land was called to the incident yesterday and everyone is sympathising with the deceased families. People from the Lagos State Building Control Agency came to inspect the building this morning (Sunday).”
Akinniyi Akinwale, a resident, said the nine-year-old girl was running errands when the tragic incident befell her, adding that her parents began searching for her when she didn’t return home but were informed that the fence of the building claimed her life.
He said, “The wall in front of the school just fell on both of them. The girl who died was sent on an errand to that street, so no one knew her parents there but she was taken to the hospital after the incident and it wasn’t until night time when her parents started looking for her that they were informed of her death.”
A source says Samat was buried immediately after the incident.
Adetayo Asagba, The Head, Public Affairs, Lagos State Building Control Agency, and The Lagos State Territorial Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, said they were not aware of the incident when contacted about it.
However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the incident.
He said, “Two children died, the owner of the building has been arrested.”
Past President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Kunle Awobodu, reacted to the incident saying that blocks used to construct buildings nowadays were substandard as he urged building owners, developers, among others to not underestimate the standard required for building materials.
“This is quite unfortunate. Those of us in the construction industry have laid emphasis on the threat of natural force or pressure on buildings, to withstand such natural pressure especially in an area that is exposed to strong winds, there is a need to introduce columns.
“Pillars are referred to as reinforced columns to enable fences to withstand the natural force being generated by the wind. Constructing coping is necessary on top of these fences so that persistent rainfall does not have an extreme impact on the stability of the fence.
“Many of the blocks used to construct buildings nowadays are very weak and substandard; they are usually six inches and 150mm in thickness which is unable to withstand wind pressure that makes it important for all of us to be more vigilant.”
“What has happened shows that the stability of the fence is crucial to avoid calamities of this nature. This is not the first time a fence has collapsed and taken lives, so urgent attention should be drawn to it.
“It’s a warning for landlords, developers and building owners to construct fences that will adequately protect the occupants and property,” Awobodu said.
Lagos State has a history of building collapses resulting in loss of lives.
On August 21, 2022, two children died in a building collapse at Adeleye Street, Lady Lark, Bariga area of the state.
September 5, 2022, a seven-storey building under construction collapsed at Oba Idowu Oniru Street, in the Lekki area of the state and killed six persons.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, confirmed the resignation of the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako amid expert criticisms of the lack of conforming to standard building regulations.
Omotoso stated that Salako’s resignation was part of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s efforts to restructure the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and its agencies.