Ikoyi Building Collapse: How We Escaped – Sokoto Teenage Labourers

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As more faces continue to be put to the figures of the casualty recorded in the 21-storey Ikoyi building collapse, those affected appear to be from far and near.

Daily Trust encountered Atiku Dahiru, a teenager from Sokoto State, who was among the victims of the building collapse.

He said he had been coming to Lagos from Sokoto for greener pasture, and was at the site of the incident only once; and that was the day the incident occurred.

“We used to come to Lagos occasionally for greener pastures, but that was the first time we went to work at the building site that collapsed,” Atiku said.

Narrating his experience further, Atiku said in the morning of that ill-fated day, a bricklayer popularly known as T-Money mobilised four of them and some other labourers, numbering 20, to the site.

“After we reached the site, we were told that each of us would be paid the sum of N3,000 after the day’s work and that would continue for some days. We were then taken upstairs where we started working.

“Some of us were told to go down and pick up sand in a sack of cement to the second floor where the lift would convey it up for plasterwork. My friend and I got to the ground floor while our two brothers were taking their sacks of sand to the second floor.“As they went up, I went to look for a sack to cover and protect my head from the sand and while trying to do so I noticed something falling on me, hence I ran out. Within a short time, I could no longer see anything as the dust had covered everywhere. I was screaming and running while rubble kept falling.

“Somehow, God helped us to get out, but we looked around and did not see two others; they were our blood relatives: Mika’ilu and Aminu. We kept waiting for them to come out but we didn’t see them. We later went home and told our relatives what had happened to us,” he said.

Atiku added that while he survived with injuries, his hope of getting N3,000 after that day’s work did not materialise.

Also speaking, Atiku Bala, who survived the disaster, told Daily Trust that he took sand in a bag of cement and entered the building on the second floor and when he came out he met two of his friends, Aminu and Mika’ilu, who were on their way back into the building’s second floor.

“As I was coming out, something just hit me and I fell down; when I tried to get up I fell back to the ground. By God’s grace, we eventually got out with five other workers,” he said

He said when they got outside the building, they sat down waiting to see if they could see their brothers until some scavengers took them to their house where they took bath and changed clothes.

“They (scavengers) also gave us N1,000 transport fare to Ibafo where we informed our relatives of our plight,” he said.

Bala said the four of them involved in the incident are from Sokoto, adding that more than 100 people were working on the building that day, including women, who were mainly supervising the work.

“There were also some women who were selling food to the labourers in the building and one of the food vendors also escaped from the incident but our master, T- Money, did not come out of the collapsed building.  As I am talking to you now, two of my brothers are not yet found,” he said.

Daily Trust spoke to the brother of the victims, Babangida Muhammad, who said the incident had caused sadness within their family.

“Our four children went out to work in Lagos but only two came back and the bodies of the missing ones have not been recovered. It has not been easy for our family,” he said.

He said their mothers were still in a state of shock, having lost hope that their sons would be found alive.

“We hope to see the government continue to exhume the bodies so that they can be buried according to Islamic rite, and that their families should also be considered in terms of compensation.”

Hadi Sani, the special adviser to Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Inter Ethics Affairs, told Daily Trust that four Arewa people from Mowe-Ibafo area of Ogun State were victims of the Ikoyi building collapse.

“While two of them who survived from the collapse received treatment and travelled back to Sokoto where they are still receiving treatment, the other two are yet to be found under the collapsed building.

“The Executive Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun through His Special Assistant on Inter-Ethnic Affairs Prince Hadi Sani, is determined to ensure that all indigenes and residents of Ogun State get necessary attention at every point in time.

“We appreciate the effort of the Lagos State government and plead for necessary assistance for the Arewa community victims of this tragic accident,” he said.

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