Death toll rises in school building collapse

The death death toll in Sunday’s building collapse at the Abu Naima Primary and Secondary School in Jos, the Plateau state capital, has risen to 10.

Twenty-four other pupils are said to be injured and admitted to the Plateau Specialist Hospital in Jos metropolis.

The casualty figure rose on Monday morning from an initial seven deaths reported by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency on Sunday night.

The North-central Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, Mohammed Abudulsalam, said three of the injured pupils, rushed to hospital after the incident, later passed on.

That brought the number of deaths in the incident to 10.

The NEMA official however said rescue work was still ongoing.

A youth leader in the area, Abdullahi Yakubu, who assisted in the rescue operation, said it had been agreed that the remains of the victims be buried Monday morning.

A teacher at the school, Mohammed Sani, who was in class when the incident occurred but suffered minor injuries on his left leg, said about 38 pupils were in two classrooms in the collapsed building when the incident happened.
“The incident is devastating,” Mr. Sani said. “We had a total of about 50 pupils, but due to continuous rains yesterday (Sunday), most pupils were absent, but about 38 were present.

“Some were rescued unhurt. I personally rescued some. In the process, I got an injury on my left leg. But we thank God, we can say it is minor, considering the number of rescue persons alive. I appeal to all parents to take consolation in God.”

A parent, Musa Tijani, who lost his male child, Hamisu, in the incident, called on government to assist in rebuilding the school to enable pupils to continue their studies.

Mr. Tijani also said his neighbour’s son Idris Kabiru, died in the incident.

He explained that the school was being run as humanitarian service to the community.

“It’s free, the owner of the school built it to help coach our children in Islamic studies, but now that it has collapsed we do not know the fate of our children,” Mr. Tijani said. “I’m calling on government to help rebuild the school.”

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the school, a two-storey, four-classroom complex, was built six years ago.

It collapsed at about 6:30pm local time Sunday just as the school was holding its evening classes.

Most of the affected pupils are believed to be between the ages of six and seven.




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