A three-story building with about 33 occupants, located at 29b, Otto Street, Ebute-Meta, Lagos State collapsed on Thursday, killing eight persons, including a pregnant.
Seven persons, including a baby, were rescued.
The ground floor of the building was used by traders as a motorcycle warehouse, while the first, second and third floors were used for residental purposes.
One of the traders, Chukwudi Ezeobi, said he had about 200 Honda motorcycles, valued at about N20 million, in the building before the incident.
Another trader, Ambrose Aneke, said that he has about 100 cartons of motorcycle spare parts, valued at about N3 million, in the building.
Residents at the collapsed building site have urged the government to monitor the activities of building developers, with a view to avoid more loss of lives and property.
They alleged that most of the collapsed buildings marked for demolition were built by developers with substandard building materials.
“It is time that government should look into the activities of developers in Lagos State. Government should take over now all such buildings in the state,” said Akinola Jamui, a resident.
Another resident, Festus Igwe, said that most of the cracked walls in some of the buildings have been covered by paints, stressing that developers only were only after their money and not the comfort and safety of the people.
The rescue operation was however suddenly halted when policemen and officials of the National Emergency Management Agency almost engaged themselves in a physical fight.
Policemen manhandled and arrested the spokesperson of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye.
The NEMA spokesperson was bundled out of the scene of the rescue operation by policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad on the order of the Commander of the RRS, Akeem Odumosu
The arrest of the NEMA spokesperson almost marred the rescue operation as other officials of the agency protested and abandoned the rescue operation and drove away from the scene.
Farinloye incurred Odumosu’s wrath for daring to angrily stop him from sending away residents of the area, who stormed the collapsed building site and for telling him that he was stupid to have done that.
It was gathered that Odumosu arrived the scene around midday and went straight to the scene of the evacuation process and started chasing away non-emergency workers, including journalists.
Farinloye, who was in the middle of the operation, walked up to him and confronted him.
He told Odumosu to stop chasing the residents, insisting that they had been part of the operation, even before NEMA came.
The visibly angry Odumosu ordered his men to arrest him, leading to the NEMA spokesman being bundled away from the scene.
Farinloye was later detained at Denton Police Station with an instruction from Odumosu that he should be arraigned in court on Friday.
As at 4pm on Thursday, he was yet to be released.
Efforts by people, including the Chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government Area, Ladle Olakanye, to have the NEMA spokesperson released failed as the RRS commander insisted on showing him whom he was messing with.
Olakanye even promised Odumosu that the NEMA official would write a letter of apology but he insisted on him being charged to court.
An obviously inflated Odumosu bragged: “He threatened to write a petition.
“Let him go and write.
“He cannot send me away from here, but I have sent him away.”
While the drama lasted, the two parties forgot the most important people who should be at the centre of the act: victims still buried under the rumbles.