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Heartbroken parents bury their children

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Heartbroken parents bury their children

The atmosphere was thick with despair and silent weeping yesterday at the homes of pupils and others who died in the collapsed building at Ita-Faji, Lagos Island on Wednesday. Many appeared to have accepted their fates and had already started burying their children amidst tears. Parents, relatives and sympathisers were too distraught to comment on the tragic incident. Some of them seemed hostile, especially towards journalists. Many of them declined to speak on the incident. Those who managed to speak broke up in mid-sentence, giving way to tears.

This was the reflection of what was happening at No 1, Faji Street, which is about 30 metres away from the scene of the incident. In this particular family, three of their children, Basit, Ayomide, and Mubarak, were involved in the tragic incident. According to residents, Basit died shortly after he was rushed to the hospital. As at the time of filling this report, the family members were making frantic efforts to save the lives of the remaining children. A resident, who simply identified herself as Iya Segun blamed the state government for the collapse of the building. She said:

“The building had been marked for demolition over three times, but the agency refused to do anything on it until it eventually collapsed. We heard that officials of building agencies took bribes from owners of the structure and other distressed buildings around the area.”

Iya Segun, who was fuming over many issues, also blamed health workers for the death of a lad. She said: “Most of the children rescued were abandoned in the hospital and left to die. The victims at Massey Children Hospital survived, but those taken to General Hospital died.” Iya Segun explained that Basit was alive when he was brought out from the rubble. “We ran after the ambulance that conveyed him to the General Hospital. Both his father and I were denied access to him. We were not comfortable with the kind of treatment given to him. “Perhaps if they had allowed his father to take him to a private hospital, he would not have died. But Basit eventually died. He was buried this morning according to Islamic rites,” Iya Segun said while crying profusely.

Also narrating her own ordeal, Mrs. Nafisat Adejumo said her sister’s son,Mubarak Olayinka, nine, sustained severe head injury in the incident. According to her, medical workers at the General Hospital only gave analgesic for such a severe injury. She added: “As we speak, Mubarak has been taken to General Hospital in Ikorodu. We were asked to look for money for the X-ray. We don’t know how to get that kind of money. Mubarak is under the care of his grandmother. His mother died when he was still just an infant. “Most of the children wouldn’t have died if oxygen had been provided. Ambulance staff seemed to be too overwhelmed by the number of pupils gasping for breath when they were removed from the rubble.”

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