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Death toll in Nigeria building collapse rises to 43

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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Seven more bodies have been recovered from a high-rise apartment building that collapsed while under construction in Lagos, bringing the death toll to 43, a Nigerian Red Cross official said.

Among the dead is Femi Osibona, a director of Fourscore Homes, the real estate company building the 21-story luxury tower, Segun Akande told The Associated Press.

No survivors have been rescued from the site since Tuesday.

It is not known how many people remain missing but one construction worker at the scene estimated that 100 people were working there when it collapsed on Monday, meaning that 48 people could still be missing.

Distraught families are replacing their hopes with fear.

Many of the construction workers were young and from Benin, Nigeria’s southern neighbor, according to Ekene Iwuozor, who worked at the site. He escaped the accident as he did not go to work that day, but his 25-year-old brother is among the missing, he said.

“I wasn’t feeling too well, so I told my brother to go and meet me later. Little did I know I won’t see him again,” he said, shaking his head profusely. “I haven’t even told my sister. I haven’t told my father. I have no word yet. Let them just finish (with the rescue operation).”

Workers at the construction site were paid about $5 per day, he said.

Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city with more than 14 million people, has begun three days of mourning with flags at half-staff. An investigation has begun to determine what caused the collapse and whether there were lapses on the part of regulatory agencies.

Attention has also shifted to two other high-rise structures being built within the complex where the collapse occurred. Structural integrity tests have been ordered “to safeguard the lives of emergency workers on the rescue operation,” said Lagos Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu.

By CHINEDU ASADU
Associated Press

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