by Akan Ido
There are conflicting reports over the circumstances leading to the building collapse which happened early Thursday morning at Flat 6, Block M20 of Jakande Estate, Oke-Afa, Isolo in Ejigbo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
Neighbours say the occupant of the collapsed building, Adebisi Coker, was forewarned of the impending disaster but refused to take heed.
The 68-year-old woman who lost two children, Toyin and Bukola, in the disaster denied the reports saying, “That is a lie. How can someone be kind enough to warn me that the building was about to collapse and I would still stay there?”
A neighbour of the Coker family, Niyi Amodu told reporters that they had earlier alerted residents of the building of an impending danger after seeing the cracks on the building.
According to him, after alerting residents, they went to knock on the door of the Cokers’ apartment around 11:30pm to inform them of the situation. By this time, the two sisters Toyin and her younger sister Bukola, who returned home on Wednesday after her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) were fast asleep but their mother was awake and was told of the impending danger.
Mayowa Amodu, Niyi’s brother, corroborated his story saying the woman refused to leave pleading the “blood of Jesus”. The building reportedly collapsed moments later sending her two daughters to their early grave around 12 midnight.
In an interview with reporters after regaining consciousness, Mrs. Coker, who was yet to be informed of her daughters’ death narrated her sad experience.
See excerpts from the Punch Newspapers interview below:
Thank God for your life madam. Do you remember how the building collapsed?
How could I? I was in a ‘dreamland’ at the time. I did not even hear any sound. I just found myself in the hospital and I was told what happened. I have a bruise on my back and leg as you can see.
But I was told a man came to warn you before the collapse that you should leave the house. Do you remember that?
That is a lie. How can someone be kind enough to warn me that the building was about to collapse and I would still stay there? I was very concerned about the state of the building. I could not have remained there if I was warned that night.
Did you ever see any sign that the building was distressed?
Yes of course, that’s why I said I was concerned with the state of the building. Sometimes this year, I went to Lagos Building Investment Company to make a report that the other wing of the house was cracking. But you know government, nobody came to see it.
Can I ask how old you are?
I am 68 years old. I retired from Shell Petroleum 15 years ago. I bought the flat with part of my retirement benefit. The rest has gone into my children’s education.
What about your husband?
I have been a widow since 1995. I am from Ogun State.
Reports say efforts are being made to contact some family members of the Cokers to break the tragic news to them.
The bodies of both sisters was deposited at the Isolo General Hospital morgue.