20 confirmed dead after children caught in Nigeria building collapse

Twenty people have been confirmed dead in a school building that collapsed in Nigeria, most of them children.

Lagos state health commissioner Jide Idris said 43 other people were rescued alive after the disaster in the heart of Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Officials have said the three-storey residential building had been marked for demolition and the school was operating illegally on the top two floors. It is still not clear how many people were inside when it collapsed.

Rescue crews halted their search on Thursday, saying they had reached the building’s foundation without finding any other victims. Some anguished families protested and sifted through the rubble for signs of their children.

People gather at the scene  (Sunday Alamba/AP)
People gather at the scene (Sunday Alamba/AP)

Building collapses are common in the west African nation, where new construction often goes up without regulatory oversight. Officials moved through the neighbourhood on Thursday, marking other derelict buildings for demolition.

Adeyemo Sunday, the father of twins, mourned one of his sons. The other was pulled out alive, he said.

He said his family lived on the building’s second floor and he sent his boys to school there so they would not have to travel far.

Another parent, Yewande Ogunsanwo, said her son remained in critical condition.

“Let’s thank God… he’s getting better but his condition is so critical,” she said. “The pain is too much.”

The collapse came as President Muhammadu Buhari, newly elected to a second term, tries to improve infrastructure in Africa’s most populous nation.

- Press Association

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