The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has said that no one died during rescue operations at the site of the Ikoyi building collapse.
The Director-General of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Oluwafemi Oke-Osayintolu, said on Thursday, Jan. 27, that evidence proved that all victims of the 21-storey building collapse on Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, died before rescue operations began.
Oke-Osayintolu made the disclosure during a coroner’s inquest into the November 1, 2021 building collapse which killed 46 people.
Led in evidence-in-chief by counsel for the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr. A. S. Odugbemi, the LASEMA boss said that the rescue operations were carried out by professionals and non-professionals, assisted by their equipment.
He said the agency, in its years of existence, was confronted with what he described as “a classical national emergency”.
Oke-Osayintolu said the rescue team he directed in his capacity as the incident commander moved into the incident area, following a primary assessment, partitioning the building into quadrums 1 to 4 and employing heavy and life duty equipment.
He said the use of drone and Delsa equipment for detection of life enabled the primary and secondary emergency responders to determine that there was no life in the debris before work commenced.
Oke-Osayintolu said: “Where we put the excavator is the first quadrum. We used the Delsa to detect if there is somebody that is alive and I said this type of collapse building, it’s unique itself.
“When it pile on one another there won’t be air going in, it will compress the victim and the way our response was operated we divided the place into quadrums. We used a Delsa and a drone, I can say that the probability is close to zero.”
Speaking on oath before the coroner, Mr. Ola Adeosun, representing Prowess Engineering Ltd, supported the claims of the LASEMA Director-General on the casualty.
Adeosun said: “My Lord, with my medical background, I have attended to a lot of emergencies in the country, I will say no.”
The coroner asked: “Are you telling this court that before moving your equipment, you must have confirmed that there is no person alive?”
The witness replied: “100 percent yes, My Lord.
“There was nobody that died in the course of our intervention to the best of my knowledge.”