One of the survivors of the collapsed 21-storey building on Gerrard Road, in Ikoyi area of Lagos State, has narrated what transpired before the building collapsed last Monday.
The survivor, who is a labourer at the site, spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on condition of anonymity because they warned not to discuss the incident with anyone. He spoke at one of the hospitals where he is still recuperating.
He said they were working on a cracked pillar on the first floor of the building when it caved in.
“I was working with my colleague. I have been told not to tell anybody. That day, we were working on the first floor, Engineer Kola and Engineer Ola told us there is one pillar on the first floor, the pillar has cracked. The engineers told us to break the pillar so that they could fix another pillar there because the pillar is really big, they have confidence that nothing would happen to the pillar if they set another one.
“Suddenly we heard a noise, the thing (pillar) started to shake, I and Monday (another labourer) ran when we saw that the pillar was starting to shake. As I was running, I fell down and I was struggling to come out,” he said.
He said he managed to move out of the building and a gateman helped him onto a motorcycle that took him to the hospital before the arrival of the government’s emergency responders.
“When I ran outside, the gateman saw me, he now called a bike man. I ran out before the rescue operatives came in. The owner of the house (Femi Osibona) knows (knew) about the pillar, that it has cracked. He told the two engineers to ask us to break it. He was aware, he saw us, he even gave us money for food (breakfast). He saw us there when we were working on it,” the labourer added.
He said that Osibona was in a meeting when the building collapsed.
He also said that two members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), whom he identified as Sam and Sola were also trapped under the rubble.
The labourer’s account provides an insight into what could have caused the high-rise building to collapse last week.
No fewer than 45 bodies have been recovered from the rubble, while 15 others have rescued since rescue operations began at the site on November 1.