The Lagos State emergency responders and their federal counterparts clashed at the site of the building collapse in Ikoyi on Thursday when Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu opposed the casualty figures provided by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
A 21-storey building, still under construction, crumbled on Monday afternoon, burying dozens of people under its rubble.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, often described as ‘the incident commander’ of the state, told journalists that 32 bodies have been recovered from the rubble and taken to the morgue. He said nine persons have been rescued and taken to hospitals.
The governor’s figures failed to tally with that of NEMA, with the latter stating the number of recovered bodies as 38 – 35 males and three females. The agency, however, said nine people, comprising eight males and one female, have been rescued.
Let’s understand what the chain of command is. This is a Lagos state site, so the chain of command and control lies with the ministry of health, they are the ones that have taken corpses to the morgue, so they are accountable. And the people who are moving morgue are staff of the Lagos State.
We understand and appreciate that there are other agencies…government agencies that are collaborating with us. We said that we have only one official channel of communication.
Clashes between federal and state government officials at incident sites are common in the state, especially in the past when both governments were controlled by different political parties.
In 2013, Lagos government officials ‘chased’ Mr Farinloye and other NEMA officials out of a collapsed building site in Surulere for granting interviews to journalists.
Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, inaugurated a six-man panel to investigate the cause of the building collapse.
He also said they would conduct an integrity test on the two 15-storey buildings on the premises of the incident.
He said that 17 families have approached the “help desk” so far to fill the missing person’s form.