Tragedy Strikes as 80-Year-Old Trader
A Grim Day in Oyingbo: Unveiling the Heart-Wrenching Incident
In a heart-wrenching incident that unfolded in the Oyingbo area of Lagos Mainland, tragedy struck as an 80-year-old petty trader lost her life in the collapse of a two-storey building. The grim episode occurred at 34 Oloto Street, Borno Way, off Freeman Street, Oyingbo, underlining the perilous condition of the structure.
Marked for Demolition: A Preventable Catastrophe
This unfortunate event sheds light on the repercussions of neglecting crucial safety measures. Four months ago, the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) had marked this building, along with several others, for demolition due to their distressed state. The octogenarian’s demise is a stark reminder of the dire consequences of procrastination in addressing structural concerns.
Eyewitness Accounts: A Community in Shock and Grief
As the building crumbled at approximately 8:00 a.m., the immediate response from neighbors and other onlookers was met with shock and grief. Despite the warning signs and the marked distress of the building, occupants had hesitated to vacate, leading to this tragic fatality.
The Lament of the Locals: A Portrait of Resilience Amidst Tragedy
Among those grieving the loss is Sunday Okenwan, a trader in the area who shared, “She’s a good woman. She was selling oranges and yams. We know the building is not in good condition, but I always come for business and go back.” The resonance of this sentiment echoes the resilience of a community bound together by commerce and shared spaces.
Timely Response or Tragic Delay? Unraveling the Emergency Management Scenario
The Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) received distress calls at 8:30 a.m., triggering a swift response. However, the tragic reality is that the octogenarian’s life could not be spared. Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyitolu, the Permanent Secretary of LASEMA, reported that an internal suspended beam’s collapse, a consequence of aging and lack of maintenance, led to this unfortunate fatality.
Coordinated Efforts: Ensuring Safety and Maintaining Order
The LASEMA Response Team (LRU), paramedics, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Lagos Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), and the Police played vital roles in ensuring the safety of the area. Their presence aimed not only to manage the immediate aftermath but also to prevent further casualties and maintain order in the face of this calamity.
LASBCA Speaks: Evacuation Notices Ignored, Tragedy Unfolds
According to Olusegun Olaoye, the spokesperson for LASBCA, the agency had duly marked and identified the distressed building. Notices had been served to occupants a month prior, urging them to evacuate for the impending demolition. Tragically, these warnings were ignored, leading to the collapse and subsequent fatality.
A Race Against Time: The Challenge of Demolition Authorization
The spokesperson further emphasized the meticulous process of obtaining authorization for demolition, stating, “We marked the building for demolition because there were signs of distress when we came for inspection four months ago. Some critically distressed structures in the street and adjoining streets were sealed and occupants asked to evacuate. We have also asked people in the adjoining buildings we discovered are in distress to vacate. We have been compiling buildings for demolition and we cannot start demolishing without authorization. So, we have to take time and follow the process. There is no timeline to when a building should be demolished; we have to wait for engineers to give us a timeline.”
A Systematic Approach: Ensuring Safe Demolition
In the aftermath, LASBCA officials are meticulously planning the demolition of the remaining structure. The roof has been removed from the standing parts, and materials and equipment are being mobilized for a systematic pull-down to avoid collateral damage to neighboring buildings.
A Disturbing Pattern: Distressed Buildings Still Inhabited
This tragic incident resonates with a larger issue—the persistence of occupants residing in marked distressed buildings. Despite LASBCA’s published list of structures awaiting demolition, many of these buildings, including the one at 34 Oloto Street, remained occupied, raising questions about the effectiveness of the regulatory process.
In conclusion, this devastating event underscores the critical need for proactive measures in addressing distressed structures and the importance of community cooperation in ensuring public safety. As the community mourns the loss of a cherished member, it serves as a poignant reminder that preventative actions can avert tragedies, and neglecting warnings can lead to irreversible consequences.