Lagos Nigeria – Tragedy hit Lagos island Wednesday, when a 3 storey (make-shift) school collapsed and killed 20, and trapped several others. The Ohen school, crumbled to the ground mid Wednesday morning, as children teachers and even some toddlers were in the midst of their daily activities.
Locals immediately began to try and dig through the slabs of concrete and rubble to rescue the trapped individuals, pictures emerged of young children being carried to safety and a pregnant women was also dug out of the debris. It took local officials over an hour to arrive on the scene with proper equipment, such as bulldozers, trucks and medical supplies – which infuriated the nearby inhabitants.
We seem to be reporting the same story every few months, as the epidemic of collapsing buildings continue to plague the country. As we reported last August from Abuja, these events are getting too frequent and more deadly.
The building that housed the Ohen school was actually slated for demolition, but the process for razing structures takes time and lots of money. So in the meantime, the ever resourceful Lagosians, slapped some paint and signs on the condemned building to create a school.
Nigerian officials must immediately enforce building regulations and codes so that these horrific tragedies do not continue. Contractors and builders who neglect their structures, should face stiff penalties and even jail time if they are found guilty. Until we hold these individuals and companies accountable, these situations will continue to occur.
The sight of weeping parents and loved ones wailing over dead bodies are hard images and sounds to remove from your mind, and we must do everything in our power to stop these preventable tragedies.