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REPORTS - Eyewitnesses speak on how the school building in Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island collapsed

In this story, there are accounts from rescuers, eyewitnesses, sympathizers, activists, residents, and other people related to the tragic event.

Imagine being a mother of four, all under the age of 10, attending the same school, watching them grow, investing your earnings into them, listening to their dreams, hopes and aspirations, to lift you from the slums of Lagos Island.
Imagine one day, they leave for school, only a few yards away from home only to hear the building has collapsed.

Imagine being regular Lagosian, going about your business to your day job as a bricklayer, only to suddenly see the 4-storey building you saw standing moments earlier, sink into rubble, with people battling for life and a host of children screaming in shock and panic, not knowing what just happened.
You have no choice but to jump in and claw your way through half-century old pillars and mud-bricks, hoping to salvage something.

Only a week ago in the same building, a mother recently had a naming ceremony for her infant child. This is the story of Lagosians who reside on Itafaji Street, off Apatira, Lagos Island, Lagos Nigeria today. Around 10:00 am on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the 3-storey building, just opposite the signpost for Apatira Street, collapsed by itself, unhindered.
Trapped in it; a was a mother and her infant, a pregnant woman (now reported deceased), a blind man, who had gone there to see his wife and child, and most importantly, about 120 school children – presumably under the age of 10.
These children attend Johad Schools, which occupies the third floor of that building. Their headmistress, popularly called, Aunty Esther was one of the first persons recovered from the scene, with her leg broken.

At the scene, the mother of four stood close to another mother whose kid was trapped inside the rubble., Both mothers offered unspoken mutual support. They gazed into each other, not knowing whether to cry. They feared the worst which remains unknown.
As at 4 pm, only 13 children had been recovered with three dead. The sight of one of the first children recovered will make the average man sink to his knees in agony. Not because the child’s organs were displaced, but because of the sheer compassion inherent in every man. About 100 people were still stuck under the rubble.

As Pulse spoke with Oluyomi, one of the first rescuers on the scene, he claimed he heard the news on the radio, at around 10:07 am. He claimed he ran down to ita-faaji, leaving his business just to help in any way he can.

He says, “ We had to break stones to get to some of the kids there. As we speak, one woman is trapped within two stones and a pillar. Lifting the stones isn’t hard, but if they are lifted, the pillar will fall and crush her. ”
Whenever any child was brought out, it was met with a chorus of cheers from the multitude of people camped outside the building, making ita-faaji a ground where people called most for God today, in all his forms.
Mothers wailed as cheers were met with a realization that the children they cheered for had passed on, arms flailing, screaming for life to fall back into human bone.

via Pulseng


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