Several families and friends of victims trapped inside the rubble of the 21-storey building which collapsed in the Ikoyi axis of Lagos on Monday have slammed the state government for suspending rescue efforts.
Not less than 15 people have so far been confirmed dead since the building located on Gerard Road collapsed.
In several video clips captured by SaharaReporters at the scene, families and friends of those affected faulted the decision of the state government to bar them from joining in the rescue operation.
According to them, some of the officials on the rescue team were only idling away at the scene while their loved ones were left in the rubble.
They argued that the state government should have allowed volunteers to join in the rescue operation to enhance the vixtims' chances of survival.
"Why won't they allow us to enter the premises to rescue those affected, our people are inside there... they're not doing anything," a man said.
Some women at the scene were seen hurling curses, saying: "Sanwo-Olu and all those responsible for this won't reap the fruits of their children."
"If they had allowed us in, the rescue operation would have been faster, but they restricted people," a woman said.
One of them alleged that the officials stopped working around 3 am on Tuesday and resumed by 7 am.
He said: "They stopped work at 3 am and came back at 7 am...in the night, they asked everyone to leave the premises and come back in the morning, where in the world does that happen during an emergency? What kind of country is this?
"They said they are going on break, what kind of stupid break? Are those trapped inside the building on break? Our families are inside, how do you want us to go home? This is nonsense."
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had earlier suspended Gbolahan Oki, the general manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), over the incident.
Gbenga Omotoso, the Lagos commissioner for information and strategy, released a statement to this effect on Tuesday.
“The Lagos State Government is setting up an independent panel to probe the collapse of the 21-storey building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi. Members of the panel will be drawn from the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) and other professional bodies," it read.
“It will independently investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incident and make recommendations on how to prevent future occurrence. The investigation is not part of the internal probe already being conducted by the government.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said the government will surely find out what went wrong and punish those indicted. The Governor, as a first step, has directed that the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr. Gbolahan Oki, an architect, be suspended from work immediately. The suspension is indefinite."