A Non-Governmental Organization, NGO, Center for Children’s Health Education, Organization and Protection, CEE-HOPE, has blamed the Lagos Government for the loss of lives in a building which collapsed in Lagos.
Housing news reported that at least 50 children were rescued from the debris by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), as well as other security agencies.
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Reacting, the group in a statement received and signed by CEE- HOPE’s Executive Director, Betty Abah said the incident was avoidable and took place due to the high level of lawlessness in the country.
The group further urged the Lagos government to persecute and punish those responsible for the incident.
The statement reads: “On the heel of yesterday’s school building collapse incidence on Lagos Island, we commiserate with families who have lost precious children and other family members.
“According to media reports, about 18 persons, mostly children, have lost their lives while 41 were rescued with several of them sustaining various degrees of injuries including some life-threatening ones. These casualties, these heart-wrenching pains are clearly avoidable– a result of the pervasive
lawlessness in our society.
“We, therefore, ask for a speedy investigation and the consequent dispensing of the most stringent punishment for violators of building codes and regulations that led to this avoidable loss of lives.
“A society is only taken seriously when there is adherent to set rules and regulations especially when it concerns the safety of the most vulnerable, in this case, children. People are encouraged to commit a crime when there is no adequate punishment from authorities to serve as deterrence.
“Over the years, Lagos has remained the epicenter of collapsed buildings in
Nigeria owing to the use of sub-standard building materials or persons retaining old, decrepit and defective structures in spite of official evacuation warnings, and with all the attendant deaths of innocent persons (building site workers, tenants etc) yet there has never been any clear stand by the government to punish the defaulters other than stimulated media trials that fizzle with time.
“We, therefore, have no hesitation in laying the blame for this tragedy partly at the feet of the Lagos State Government which has the constitutional mandate to secure lives and property of all Lagosians including school children aspiring to change their fortunes by acquiring an education but has been largely negligent. The well-publicized albeit reactive emergency responses we have seen are not enough and clearly, cannot bring back the precious dead.
“These violators (including the property owner who reportedly defied a quit order from the relevant authorities since 2014), the school authorities and other collaborators must not be spared. Justice must be served without fear or favor. Enough of these recurrent mass murders in Lagos State.”