Evidence proved that all victims of the 21-storey building collapse on Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, died before rescue operations began, an official said Thursday.
The Director-General of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osayintolu, made the disclosure during a coroner’s inquest into the Nov. 1, 2021 building collapse which killed 46 people.
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Oke-Osayintolu was led in evidence by Mr A.S. Odugbemi, counsel to Lagos State Building Control Agency.
He testified that rescue operations were carried out by both professionals and non-professionals who assisted with equipment.
The Director-General said that the rescue team moved into the scene following a primary assessment, adding that the team partitioned the ‘building’ into Quadrums 1 to 4 and employed heavy and life-saving equipment.
He said that drones and delsa equipment (used for detection of life) enabled both primary and secondary emergency responders to determine that there was no life in the debris before work began.
Oke-Osayintolu was asked by Mr Ola Adeosun counsel to Prowess Engineering Nig. Ltd., whether his agency’s actions in the course of the rescue operation led to death of some trapped people.
“My lord, with my medical background, I have attended to a lot of emergencies within the state and federal, I would say, ‘No’.
Adeosun further asked, “Are you telling this court that before moving your equipment, you must have confirmed that there was no person alive?”
Responding, the LASEMA boss said, “Hundred per cent yes, my lord, there was nobody that died in the course of our intervention, to the best of my knowledge.”
The inquest was adjourned until Feb. 4. (NAN)