At least four people dead and scores feared buried under rubbe of Lagos building

Adesina Tiamiyu

Dozens of children are among scores of people feared trapped after a four-storey building collapsed in s economic capital, Lagos, killing at least four people.

Officials said the children were attending an illegal school in the residential building when the structure collapsed. Dozens of children were trapped inside, said Adesina Tiamiyu, the head of Lagos state management agency, which was supervising the rescue operation.

He said workers had pulled 40 people alive from the rubble, some of them badly injured, as well as more than four dead bodies.

The building, in an area near Itafaji market on Lagos Island, collapsed in mid-morning. Police said they believed scores of people were trapped.

The Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said: We are getting additional cranes to be able to go deeper than where we are now to rescue more lives. He promised a full investigation and punishment for anyone found responsible.

Panicked parents rhed to the area as police, firefighters and medics began the rescue operation. Please, save my child, save my child! cried one woman whose seven-year-old daughter was trapped inside, as people tried to console her.

A young man helping rescue efforts, who gave his name only as Derin, said at least 10 children were trapped inside and thought to be alive.

A local resident who witnessed the collapse said there was no warning. We were smoking outside when the building jt collapsed, Olamide Nuzbah said.

Schoolbags, toys and clothes could be seen among the rubble as a bulldozer tried to clear a path to help the rescuers.

Lagos, which has a population of 20 million people, is made up of a collection of islands including Lagos Island, a densely populated area that is one of the citys oldest neighbourhoods. Despite efforts to renovate the area, a large number of abandoned and ufe buildings have been taken over by families or binesses.

Building collapses are common in Nigeria, where building regulations are routinely flouted. In September 2014, 116 people died when a six-storey building in Lagos collapsed while a celebrity televangelist was preaching there. An inquiry found it had structural flaws and had been built illegally.

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