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Eight killed and dozens injured after building housing 'illegal school' collapses in Nigeria

Reports suggested that dozens of children were trapped inside the building.

A child is rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria
A child is rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria
Image: Sunday Alamba/PA Images

RESCUERS HAVE RECOVERED the bodies of eight people and saved another 37 from the rubble of a collapsed four-storey building in Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos.

Officials say that a number of children had been attending an “illegal school” inside the residential building when the structure collapsed on Wednesday.

Earlier reports suggested that dozens of children were among those trapped inside the building, which collapsed mid-morning in an area near Itafaji market on Lagos Island.

Parents, local residents and onlookers rushed to the area as police, firemen and medics staged a massive rescue operation.

“Thirty-seven people were rescued alive and eight were recovered dead,” Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

A young man helping rescue efforts told AFP that “at least 10 children” were trapped inside but “thought to be alive”.

An AFP reporter at the scene said at least eight people were pulled from the wreckage, including a small boy with blood on his face.

School bags, toys and clothes could also be seen among the piles of rubble as a bulldozer tried to clear a path through some of the wreckage to help the rescue efforts.

Hundreds of local residents attempted to help, passing water and helmets through to rescuers working to sift through the rubble.

Many locals told AFP that the building, which was in an advanced state of disrepair, had been “earmarked” for demolition by authorities in Lagos state.

“It is a residential building that was actually accommodating an illegal school,” said the state governor, confirming that most buildings in the area had been marked for demolition.

“We get resistance from landlords but we must continue to save lives,” he said, pledging to step up measures against all structures that failed to meet the correct standards, saying they would be “quickly evacuated” and demolished.

With reporting from - © AFP 2019

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