Group requests coroner’s inquest into Lagos building collapse

A child being rescued from the scene of a building, which collapsed at Itafaji on the Lagos Island on Wednesday (13/3/19). 02149/13/3/2019Kayode Oladapo/JAU/BJO/NAN
A child being rescued from the scene of a building, which collapsed at Itafaji on the Lagos Island on Wednesday (13/3/19). 02149/13/3/2019Kayode Oladapo/JAU/BJO/NAN

A coroner’s inquest has been requested into the cause of the collapse of the Lagos Island building that killed several persons, including school kids, last week.

The request was made by a charity, Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA) led by Funmi Falana, wife of Femi, senior Nigerian lawyer. The charity’s request was delivered to the office of Chief Registrar of the Lagos State High Court on Monday.

“We request you to use your good office to cause a coroner’s inquest to be conducted into the cause of the collapse of the three-storey building at Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island that led to the death of 13 people on the 13th day of March and make appropriate recommendations pursuant to the Section of 15 of the Lagos State Coroner’s Law, 2007,” the letter reads.

Days after the Lagos incident, another building fell in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. While the latter caused injuries to the victims, authourities said nobody died, unlike the former.

The Lagos law invoked by WELA provides that an inquest shall hold whenever a Coroner is informed that the death of a deceased person within the Coroner’s district was a result of a death “in a violent, unnatural or suspicious situation”.

The fatal collapse of the building on Massey Street, Ita-Faji, on the Lagos Island, happened last Wednesday and killed several persons. Many trapped in the collapsed building were injured and evacuated to hospitals.

The building had been marked for demolition but due to Nigeria’s challenge of ineffective public service, it was allowed to remain until the tragic incident last week. Though originally a residential building, it housed a kids’ school illegally and authorities did not know or move to act before the tragedy struck.

Mrs Falana’s charity, WELA, demanded the conduct of the inquest “without delay” and that the report should be made public “to forestall such ugly re-occurence.”

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