20 dead, mostly children, in Nigeria building collapse

20 dead, mostly children, in Nigeria building collapse

The updated death toll came as bulldozers moved in to the area around the collapse to begin tearing down poorly-maintained and risky buildings. "Most of the buildings in central Lagos are old and can not pass the structural integrity test", he told AFP. The other was pulled out alive, he said.

Another parent, Yewande Ogunsanwo, said her son remained in critical condition on Thursday.

Oluwasina Aina, who lives on the second floor of one of the affected buildings with his wife and their two children, aged 12 and six, said he was asleep when he heard loud banging.

"We were smoking outside when the building just collapsed", Olamide Nuzbah told AFP in pidgin English. Her 11-year-old granddaughter was killed in the accident.

As the day wore on, an AFP correspondent saw several children being brought out, at least one of whom appeared to be dead.

He said they had been searching to see if anyone else was still buried underneath the wreckage, adding that the hunt for survivors was due to be declared ended later and casualty figures released.

Governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode, when he visited the scene of the collapsed building, regretted that the calamity was allowed to happen despite the fact that the building had been marked for demolition.

"We get resistance from landlords but we must continue to save lives", he said, pledging to step up measures against all structures that failed to meet the correct standards, saying they would be "quickly evacuated" and demolished.

Lagos Island is the historic heart of the metropolis, which is home to an estimated 20 million people, and also home to its central business district.

The building, which housed a primary school and nursery, came down without warning in the teeming Lagos Island area at mid-morning on Wednesday.

Building collapses are tragically common in the city and elsewhere in Nigeria, where building regulations are routinely flouted.

An inquiry found it had structural flaws and had been built illegally.

Despite efforts to renovate the area, a large number of abandoned buildings have been taken over by families or businesses, despite being dilapidated and unsafe.

Two manslaughter prosecutions are now being held in Lagos state after scores of people were killed in two separate building collapses in 2015 and 2016.

Some 84 South Africans were among 115 people killed in 2014 after a guesthouse located within the church of prominent religious leader, TB Joshua, collapsed.

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