A fence that collapsed at a Lagos school, Covenant Point Academy at Ajose Street, in the Amukoko area of Lagos State has left two children, Samat Saheed and a yet-to-be-identified girl dead.
Vanguard gathered that the nine-year-old girl was walking past the front of the school to link her destination in the area while three-year-old Samat was playing around the fence of the school, close to his mother’s shop when the fence collapsed and hit the duo.
It was gathered that as the fence caved in on the minors, its impact crushed Samat’s head, killing him instantly, while the nine-year-old girl lost consciousness and reportedly died shortly after the incident.
An eyewitness, Ganiyu Ayeloja, said residents, who were traumatised over the incident, informed the police, adding that the owner of the school had been arrested.
He said, “The police came around and they arrested the owner of the school building. The building has no pillars, they are just stacked blocks. The building was not well structured at all; there was no wiring, no pillar, and nothing to hold the building together that’s why it fell easily.
“It is unfortunate that the two children were around that area when it collapsed. One of the children’s parents had a shop close to the school building, that was why he was there and his parents were immediately alerted.
“The Oba of Ijora land was called to the incident yesterday and everyone is sympathising with the deceased families. People from the Lagos State Building Control Agency came to inspect the building this morning (Sunday).”
Another resident, Akinniyi Akinwale, said the nine-year-old girl was running errands when the tragic incident befell her.
He added that when she didn’t return home, her parents started searching for her but were informed that the fence of the building claimed her life.
He said, “The wall in front of the school just fell on both of them. The girl who died was sent on an errand to that street, so no one knew her parents there but she was taken to the hospital after the incident and it wasn’t until nighttime when her parents started looking for her that they were informed of her death.”
Reacting to the incident, a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Kunle Awobodu, said blocks used to construct buildings nowadays were very weak and substandard as he urged site engineers, and developers, among others to desist from using substandard materials.
He said, “This is quite unfortunate. Those of us in the construction industry have laid emphasis on the threat of natural force or pressure on buildings, to withstand such natural pressure, especially in an area that is exposed to strong winds, there is a need to introduce columns.
“Pillars are referred to as reinforced columns to enable fences to withstand the natural force being generated by the wind. Constructing coping is necessary on top of these fences so that persistent rainfall does not have an extreme impact on the stability of the fence.
“Many of the blocks used to construct buildings nowadays are very weak and substandard; they are usually six inches and 150ml in thickness which is unable to withstand wind pressure that makes it important for all of us to be more vigilant,” he added.