On the heels of yesterday’s school building collapse incidence on Lagos Island, we commiserate with families who have lost precious children and other family members.
According to media reports, the collapse occurred at No 14, Massey Street, Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island in a building, housing Ohen Private Nursery and Primary School on its third trapping scores of pupils.It also housed tenants. About 18 persons, mostly children, have lost their lives while 41 were rescued with several of them sustaining various degrees of injuries including some life-threatening ones. These casualties, these heart-wrenching pains are clearly avoidable– a result of the pervasive lawlessness in our society.
We therefore ask for a speedy investigation and the consequent dispensing of the most stringent punishment for violators of building codes and regulations that led to this avoidable loss of lives.
A society is only taken seriously when there is adherent to set rules and regulations especially when it concerns safety of the most vulnerable, in this case children.
People are encouraged to commit crimes when there are no adequate punishment from authorities to serve as deterrence. Over the years, Lagos has remained the epicenter of collapsed buildings in Nigeria owing to the use of sub-standard building materials or persons retaining old, decrepit and defective structures inspite of official evacuation warnings, and with all the attendant deaths of innocent persons (building site workers, tenants etc) yet there has never been any clear stand by the government to punish the defaulters other than stimulated media trials that fizzle with time.
We therefore have no hesitation in laying the blame for this tragedy partly at the feet of the Lagos State Government which has the constitutional mandate to secure lives and property of all Lagosians including school children aspiring to change their fortunes by acquiring an education, but has been largely negligent. The well-publicized albeit reactionary emergency responses we have seen are not enough and clearly, cannot bring back the precious dead.
Signed – Betty Abah, Executive Director, Centre for Children’s Health Education ,Orientation and Protection, CEE-HOPE