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Lagos building collapse death toll rises to 15 as Sanwo-Olu suspends building agency boss

The death toll from the collapsed 21-storey building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi has risen to 15, the National Emergency Management Agecny said on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have recovered more bodies. The death toll now stands at 15, while nine were pulled out alive,” Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency.

Rescue operations were still under way. The state information and strategy commissioner Gbenga Omotosho in a statement said “more equipment and personnel have been deployed in the site to save more lives.”

Omotosho said Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has suspended LASBCA general manager Gbolahan Oki as part of efforts to find out those indicted in the tragic incident.

The commissioner stated that “the government will surely find out what went wrong and punish those indicted” and disclosed that Oki’s suspension is “suspended from work immediately – the suspension is indefinite.”

He disclosed that nine persons – all men – were pulled out of the collapsed building alive and have been taken to the hospital.

“Unfortunately, 14 others were brought out dead – as at 2pm (on Tuesday),” Omotosho said.

The commissioner noted that the Lagos State Government is setting up an independent panel to probe the collapse of the high-rise building.

He said members of the panel will be drawn from the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), and other professional bodies.

Omotosho said the panel will “independently investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incident and make recommendations on how to prevent future occurrences. The investigation is not part of the internal probe already being conducted by the government.”

“We wish to state that there will be no cover-up in the search for the truth in this incident. If anybody is found to have been indicted, he or she will face the law,” Omotosho said.

He noted that a help desk will be set up at the site for people seeking information about their relations who may have been involved in the incident.

Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, was at the site to encourage rescuers and comfort relations of those trapped in the rubble. He left the site for the Lagos Island General Hospital to see the survivors, Omotosho said.

Omotosho urged all developers and property owners to adhere strictly to all Building Codes and Planning Regulations to ensure the safety of lives and properties.