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Sanwo-Olu faults NEMA claim, puts high-rise building fatalities @ 32

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has faulted figures released by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on fatalities recorded at the scene of a high-rise building that caved in Ikoyi axis of the state, saying the death stands at 32 and not 36 as claimed by the national agency.

He explained that contrary to the earlier reports, the state government was with authentic information and taking critical records of happenings in the area, adding that Lagosians should disregard the claims from other sources.

The governor’s figure was coming against that of NEMA which claimed on Thursday morning that 36 bodies were recovered by the emergency rescue team under rubbles of the ill-fated structure.

Confirming the development, NEMA’s Acting Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, Ibrahim Farinloye, said that the thirty-three fatalities were men while the three others were women. “So far, 36 people – 33 males and three female — have been confirmed dead, while there were nine survivors,” he said in a terse statement.

Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu inaugurated the Tribunal of Inquiry into the incident after earlier directing immediate investigation into the circumstances that resulted in the collapsed 16 floors building less than 24-hours of the incident.

He had said that the investigations would unravel the circumstances that resulted in the building that collapsed and killed over three artisans that were working at the site. According to him, the outcome of the investigation been sponsored by tax payers’ money would public for everyone to know what transpires before and after the building came down.

However, the tribunal members inaugurated on Thursday include Tpl Toyin Ayinde (Chairman), Dr Akintilo Idris Adeleke, Arc Yinka Ogundairo, Bldr. Godfrey C. Godfrey, Bunmi Ibraheem, and Ekundayo Onajobi (Secretary).

Earlier at the incident scene on Thursday, Sanwo-Olu also granted special access to a distraught father, Abel Godwin, to check for his son among the bodies recovered from the rubble after he learnt that he had traveled down from Abuja to look for his child.

“I’ve been to the general hospitals to check those that are injured and my son was not found. You promised that I would be able to see my son today. I came from Abuja and waited till today. Can you please sir grant me access to see bodies that have been recovered? What I actually need now is to know if my son is living or dead so I can fall back to Abuja and wait for the government to do the needful. I am sincerely begging sir,” Godwin told the governor.

Responding, Sanwo-Olu said, “I truly cannot express fully how difficult it would be for you. I remember that I saw you yesterday and I did mention that probably by today you might be able to see your son. So, two things will happen- we can first pick up your cost of staying here in Lagos till you are able to see your son.

“The second thing is we will do an exception, which is one of the things that we do not want to do. We have pictures of the bodies and so you could sit with the permanent secretary in the ministry of health in a separate location and you can view the pictures. Like I said, it is because we want to do things properly, and properly means let’s do it officially with the pathologist in the event that we need to present this as a criminal case.”

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