Some Schoolchildren Reported Dead After Building Collapses In Lagos, Nigeria

Mar 13, 2019
Originally published on March 13, 2019 4:10 pm
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A four-story building housing a nursery and primary school has collapsed in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports dozens of children have been pulled to safety, but some are reported to have died.

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OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Large crowds gathered outside the collapsed building in Ita Faji, a densely populated area of Lagos Island, with local residents and staff from a nearby hospital scrambling to try to find survivors.

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QUIST-ARCTON: Onlookers cheered with collective relief as a child covered in dust was pulled from the rubble and carried to a waiting ambulance. More than a hundred pupils attended the local school which was located on the upper floors of the building. We reached Nigerian freelance journalist Sam Olukoya.

SAM OLUKOYA: They have brought out more than 40 people. And from those 40, some of them are dead.

QUIST-ARCTON: Officials told the BBC the building had been slated as distressed and listed for demolition. Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city, has had previous problems with such deadly collapsed buildings where it's alleged substandard materials were used, flouting often lax enforcement of construction codes. And, says journalist Sam Olukoya, often landlords add extra stories without planning permission.

OLUKOYA: It's a very crowded place. There's a lot of pressure for house here, and I think it is this pressure that is driving landlords to increase the height or to add floor upon floor upon floor on houses that were originally built to be bungalows.

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QUIST-ARCTON: The governor of Lagos State told reporters that the school was set up illegally and that buildings in the area were undergoing what he called integrity testing. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Accra.

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