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Pupils crushed as classrooms collapse

Frantic
efforts:
Rescuers
work on
clearing the
rubble to
reach
trapped
children
PICTURE: SUNDAY ALAMBA/AP

AT LEAST eight children died and many more were trapped under rubble after a three-storey building collapsed in Nigeria.

They were among 100 in the school in Ita Faji on Lagos Island which was holding classes on the top floor, a rescue official told the BBC.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.

About 40 children were pulled from the ruins during a frantic rescue effort. Rescuers were cheered as they carried dust-covered youngsters from the rubble but the crowd went quiet as others were pulled out and remained limp after being slung over rescuers’ shoulders.

Hundreds of people stood in narrow streets and on roof tops of rusted, corrugated metal. A single yellow excavator scooped at the ruins, a nest of steel wires and dust. Later, it began trying to shift large concrete slabs.

A number of men, some barefoot, jumped in to offer assistance with saws and mallets in hand. One held a water bottle in his teeth.

Building collapses are all too common in Nigeria, where new construction often goes up without regulatory oversight.