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Collapsed School Building:12 Pupils Killed, Pregnant Woman, Eight Others Die; 34 Rescued.

Peter Okunoren

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A pregnant woman, the proprietor of a Nursery/Primary School and 19 others, including no fewer than 12 pupils, died in the collapsed building at Massey Street, Itafaji on Lagos Island, Lagos State on Wednesday, witnesses and hospital sources said.

However, the National Emergency Management Agency said eight persons died, while 34 others were rescued in the wreckage of the building that collapsed at about 10am.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency did not give the number of the dead, but said it rescued 10 persons from the wreckage.

The agency said its rescue team and other agencies brought out 10 people alive, made up of three adult females, one adult male, two teenage boys, one young boy and three teenage girls.

The South-West Zonal Head of Public Affairs of the Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye said the rescue operation was ongoing as at 8pm.

NAN gathered that most of the victims were rescued from the rubble on Wednesday, but died at the General Hospital as doctors failed to save them.

NAN learnt that the pregnant woman was one of the persons rescued from the rubble, immediately after the building collapsed, but she died in the hospital.

Other persons reported dead as at 8pm included the proprietor of a school in the building, Ohen Nursery and Primary School, about 12 pupils and some other occupants of the building.

NAN gathered that about 10 different families occupied the first and the ground floors, while the school occupied the second and fourth floors.

The building, it was learnt, had been marked for demolition by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency.

However, the occupants frustrated the demolition.

NAN further learnt that 17 of the rescued students and occupants of the building were taken to Massey Children Hospital, very close to the scene, while others were taken to the Lagos Island General Hospital on Broad Street.

A worker at the Massey Children Hospital, who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity, said four out of those brought in died few minutes after.

The medical staff said six of those who were rushed to the Lagos General Hospital also died.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who visited the scene, said the government would ensure that the trapped victims were rescued

The school moved to the collapsed building some years back.

Distraught parents of pupils and residents of the building jammed the scene of the rescue operation, hoping that their children and relatives would come out alive.

Bukola Salami, a former staff teacher in the school, who spoke with NAN said the proprietor of the school had been told to vacate the building, but she balked on account that she had no money to rent another apartment.

Salami said: “It was because of the situation of the building that forced me to resign from the school in December because I don’t want to risk my life.

“It is unfortunate that such incident happened.

“It looks like a dream to me.”

A resident of the collapsed building, who simply gave his name as Akin, said the building was marked for demolition, but that the developer found a way to stop the demolition.

Akin said he had gone to work when he received the news of the incident.

He also stated that the owner did some renovation two years ago.

A neighbour, Adewale Owoso, likened the moment the building collapsed to a bomb explosion.

Owoso said: “We were just sitting down in front of the school, when we heard a loud sound.

“We all ran into different directions but after the dust had settled, we realised that it was the building that collapsed.

“We quickly mobilised and began some rescue operation and we had rescued more than 20 people before the emergency workers arrived.”

Aishat Onilenla said three of her sister’s three children were trapped in the collapsed building.

Onilenla said: “My friend has seven children also trapped in the rubble.

“I don’t know how she is going to survive it.

“It is too big for her to bear.”

The Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Wasiu Esinlokun, who visited the scene of the incident, said a notice for demolition was served on the building on Tuesday, a day before the building collapsed.

Esinlokun, while speaking with journalists, said the Lagos State Government would ensure that victims of the incident are treated free.

As at 8:30pm, NAN gathered that some of the parents whose children died in the hospital had gone to pick up the corpses for burial.

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BREAKING: Senate Approves N30,000 Minimum Wage

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The Senate on Tuesday approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.

This decision was reached after the upper chamber’s ad-hoc committee on new minimum wage headed by Senator Francis Alimikhena submitted its report.

The Senate then went on to request the Federal Government to submit a supplementary budget to cover the new wage structure for consideration and approval.

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Delta Government Suspends Head Teacher Over Success ‘No Be Say I No Go Pay’ N1,000 Viral Video

Peter Okunoren

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The Delta State Government has suspended the Head Teacher of Okotie-Eboh Primary School in Sapele Local Government Area, Vero Igbigwe, for allegedly collecting unauthorised fees, including examination levies, from pupils.

The suspension notice was handed down on Monday by the Delta State Commissioner for Education, Chinedu Ebie, who visited the school following a viral video that showed a schoolgirl, Success Adebor, protesting the decision to send her home over her parents’ inability to pay her second term examination fee, which she put at N1,000.

Ebie said: “There is right to fair hearing.

“So, what will happen is that a detailed investigation would be set up to look into the issue in details.

“Like I did say, I conducted a preliminary investigation, but in the interim we have to suspend her (Igbigwe) as the head teacher of this school pending the outcome of the investigation.

“That suspension will take effect as from today (Monday).

“Obviously, there are contradictions in her story because everybody was there when they talked about school fees.

“It was obvious that Success was sent home because of her inability or her parents to pay the supposed fees, which is not in any way part of the 2018/2019 levies.

“Education at the basic level is free.

“However, it is not unusual that levies are imposed.

“Even at the unity schools, we have levies but these levies must be for specific purposes and must also be very minimal for the children or their guardians can afford.”

Ebie said the Administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa would not tolerate any form of extortion by state officials.

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Why We Visited President Buhari In Aso Rock — Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed that he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at his office in Aso Rock on Monday in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, to congratulate the nation’s number one citizen for winning his second term election in the just concluded presidential election.

The elated President Buhari who received Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat also felicitated with the duo for their victory in the gubernatorial election.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, Sanwo-Olu said: “It is important for the deputy Governor-elect and myself to have a one-on-one short discussion with the Commander-in-Chief, and it’s a rare privilege. It was a short one, just to say congratulations to him on his own election and he also said the same thing to us. So it’s a very short courtesy visit to Mr. President.”

The incoming Governor, who gave an insight into what his government will do, said Lagosians should expect a lot of solutions to many of the challenges they face in areas of transportation, housing, waste management, health and education adding that his deputy and himself have the competences and capabilities that will bring good governance as soon as they are sworn in.

His words: “We are actually very excited. We are excited because we’ve seen all the challenges ahead of us and we know that given all the plans and strategies we are putting in place for execution, we will certainly be bringing about solutions that will solve various challenges in Lagos very quickly.

“We know that with a mega city of our status, it comes with a lot of challenges but we are lucky that we have been part of it before now and we are excited that the solutions we are bringing up – many of which we told our people on the campaign trail, we are sure we will very quickly, be able to bring about positive development that will improve the quality of lives and ease all of the challenges that we currently have in Lagos.”

On the recent building collapse in the state which he described as unfortunate, the Governor-Elect said the current government in the state is doing all that is possible to ensure building codes are strictly adhered to and that his administration will strengthen the existing codes and also apply the rules without pandering to sentiments.

“It’s an unfortunate incident. I used to be the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Building Collapse. That was about ten years ago which was what led to us create an agency called Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA). It was meant to identify structures well ahead before issues like this begin to happen. But it’s an unfortunate thing, extremely very unfortunate and it also means that we expect it would happen again if nothing drastic is done to check it. Our administration will strengthen the agency and apply the law without sentiments.

“Lagos truly really needs regeneration especially Lagos Island and that was part of the things we promised on the campaign trail. So, it’s to have a conversation with all of the families on the Island and we’ll see the kind of redevelopment that is important as it is being done by a lot of other big cities like Lagos,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Speaking on the issue of urban renewal, Sanwo-Olu said proper enumeration of properties is the ultimate solution to achieve success. He said once properties are properly enumerated and the owners see the government’s sincerity of purpose, they will key into it and regeneration can take place.

“Well, it’s really not that regeneration has been a challenge, but because we have not been able to see it through to the end. When you want to take people’s properties and you want to regenerate, they must first see the sincerity of purpose – what are the additional plans that you have for them? Before you could regenerate, there must be a stop gap – in the next two to three years what are the plans you have for them? And you need to do what we call proper enumeration. Once you can enumerate properly and determine who the original owners are, and you sit and have an agreement, then the regeneration will start.

“But like I have said, the major thing is sincerity of purpose knowing full well that you are not out to circumvent them or to shortchange them. Once that is put on the table very clearly and transparently, I believe that as it’s also done in other jurisdictions, we will make success of it,” Sanwo-Olu stated.

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