Emmanuel Otache alongside his five-month-old pregnant wife and three children were sleeping when a three-storey building collapsed on them in their bungalow in Magodo, Lagos. The incident claimed everyone in the room except the survivor who woke up with broken limbs.
Seven months later, the survivor is trying to heal from the experience, according to Jesutomi Akomolafe, a crime and defence journalist with the Guardian newspaper.
Akomolafe, who shared the story on his Facebook page, said Otache was in a coma when his family members were buried.
“For those living in Lagos, news on building collapse doesn’t sound new to us anymore. I remembered the first building collapse news that hit the country real hard when over 100 workers got trapped in a high-rise building on the Island,” the journalist said. “A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Emmanuel Otache walked into The Guardian Newsroom with broken limbs and crutches. I didn’t know what had happened. But trust me, I was very much interested in listening to his story. Meanwhile, my news editor, Olaiya Temitope Templer, had briefed me on his visit.”
He continued: “I have heard and seen disaster but I have never witnessed that of Mr. Emmanuel. He lost his pregnant wife and three children in one night. A three-story building collapsed on his bungalow at about 3 a.m. while they were all asleep. He is the only survivor.
“He was in a coma for 7 months and before he came back to consciousness the bodies of his family were buried.”
The Guardian reports that Emmanuel lost his family after a house built on a hill collapsed at about 3:00 a.m. on their bungalow situated at No 48, Otun Araromi street, Lagos, off Isheri-Magodo in 2019.
While clamoring for financial support during a visit to Rutam House, Isolo, Corporate Headquarters of The Guardian, the victim said: “I am 39 years old. My late wife, Alema Faith Emmanuel was 30, my daughter, Jummai was 13 and Dominion was six years old, while Daniels was three years when they all died in the incident.
“I have been using crutches since I was discharged from LASUTH because of fractured bones during the incident. There is metal in my body that needs to be removed. I do not have a place to stay and no money to begin life afresh.”
The Journalist also called on relevant building and housing agencies to ensure quality buildings to deter future occurrences and guarantee safe shelter.
“This morning, while having an interaction with him over the phone, I saw a man who lost everything but is passionate about recovery,” Akomolafe said. “This is a wake-up call to building control agencies in the country, real estate agents, contractors, engineers and everyone whose profession is tied around erecting a building- Consider the future while building, quality structures should be put forward. Build according to specimen, capacity and approved style.
“Your negligence can lead to the demise of future leaders and promising children. May the soul of his departed loved ones continue to rest in peace.”