Ahmed Atolagbe, a 45-year-old furniture maker whose two sons were killed on July 22, 2023, when a portion of the fence of a hotel collapsed on their house in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, is demanding justice for the deceased.
The Kwara State-born grieving father on Thursday recounts that tragedy struck when the fence of a hotel collapsed on his three-room apartment located on Alao Street, Olainukan Bus Stop, Isawo in Ikorodu during a downpour.
The father of six said his two sons, seven-year-old Abdulwahab and nine-year-old Roqeeb, who were sleeping around the dining section of his sitting room at the time of the collapse died on the spot.
He added that his first son was also injured while his wife, Omotola, lost consciousness following the impact of the tragedy that befell the family.
He said, “I was already at my furniture workshop in Irawo when I received a distress call that I should return home to attend to a pressing issue.
“By the time I got home, I realised that the fence of a hotel beside my house had collapsed following the impact of the erosion coming from the hotel.
“The fence fell on my house, killing two of my sons. My eldest son was also injured. The incident was too much for my wife. She fainted and was rushed to the hospital.”
Atolagbe said while the matter was initially reported at the Owutu Police Divisional Headquarters, the case had since been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba.
“I am aware that there are moves to ensure that the case does not get to the court but I want justice for my children,” Atolagbe said.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, asked the state government to investigate the matter and conduct an integrity test on the hotel building to forestall a recurrence.
Falana said, “The state government should take over the matter and investigate the circumstances surrounding the collapse.
“The government should ensure that justice is done to the innocent children who died while sleeping due to the collapse.
“The government should also conduct an integrity test on the hotel building and its fence so that they don’t collapse on other people.”
A source, however said that the owner of the hotel was currently in police custody and that an agreement was reached to offer the bereaved family a sum of money and rebuild their house before Atolagbe opted out of the arrangement at the last minute.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, did not take his call in an attempt to get from him the state of the investigation into the case.
He has also not responded to a message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
But the Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, confirmed the incident on July 22, 2023.
Farinloye said, “This is to confirm the recovery of two children that were trapped in a partial building collapse which occurred around 11.30am at 25, Ajao Street, CWC, Olainukan Bus Stop, Ishawo, Ikorodu.
“The children, Rokeeb Atolagbe, nine; and Mujeeb Atolagbe, seven; were trapped when a fence from the neighbouring house fell on their building during the downpour.
“It was very unfortunate that the distress calls were not properly channelled to those whose responsibility was to save the lives of the children at the right time.
“The Lagos State Building Control Agency is presently on the ground to assess the situation. May God forgive the deceased and console their parents.”Follow us on social media