A survivor of the collapsed building, Mr Moruf Abdulakeem, yesterday revealed that he was under the rubble for three hours and at a point feared death was near.
He said: “I was praying to God under the rubble, to accept and forgive me my sins, because I believed the end had come.”
According to him, he had gone out about 9.30a.m. to buy food and a bag of sachet water. He said that as he was mounting the staircase, almost getting to the third floor, the earth suddenly seemed to shift. The building collapsed. Abdulakeem, who is the head teacher of the Ohen Nursery and Primary School, teaches Basic Six.
He said: “Initially when the building collapsed, I didn’t know where I was until after some minutes. I saw a ray of light; it was then I knew I was under the building. The first thing that came to my mind was what had happened to the pupils. I knew there was no way they could have escaped. I spent about three hours before I could see the ray light. Everywhere was dark; I heard cries of the pupils and the proprietress shouting Jesus! Jesus! I also heard the voice of Baba Ridwan. He was not too far from me under the rubble. We used to pray together in the same mosque. He was calling for help. When I heard his voice, I told him to pray, not to shout. “When I saw the ray light, I tried to raise my hand up. Someone touched me and called my name. The person told me not to worry that they were coming to rescue me. It took the rescue team an hour before they could remove the slab that fell on me. “It was after they removed the slab that I felt some relief.
The heat under the rubble was too much. It got to a stage I could not breathe anymore. It was God that saved me. Before the rescue team came, I was getting weaker. I started praying to God to accept my soul. “I told Baba Ridwan to pray because, at that point, God is the only one that can save us. I sustained injuries on my arm, ribs, chest and legs. Even right now, I’m in severe pains. “All the time I was under the rubble, I was praising God. I didn’t know what would happen next. When they eventually brought me out; it was like a dream to me. I thank God for sparing my life; unfortunately, I lost five of Basic Six pupils and four others.” Abdulakeem explained that at the Primary Health Centre, Onikan, where the rescue team took him to, the doctors asked him to bring N9,000 for X-ray and other treatment. He added: “Some of my co-teachers are in serious condition.
A teacher called Esther is presently in a coma. Another of my colleague, Daniel and the proprietress died. Others are in critical condition.” Abdulakeem’s father, Salawudeen, said: “It’s God that saved my son from the collapsed building. I went to buy something when someone called me on the phone that a building had collapsed close to my house. I immediately left what I was doing and rushed to the scene. When I got there, I met some of my friends; they were assisting in the rescue operation. I didn’t even know that my son was under the rubble.
The last time I saw him, he was on his way to buy food. I didn’t know he had returned and reentered the school.” Salawudeen said that he believed that God saved his son because he selflessly assisted in rescuing people, without knowing that his son was one of the victims.
He added: “I will always thank God for what he has done for me. Moruf is my first child.” Abdulakeem’s mother, who declined to mention her name or speak with our correspondent, was rolling on the ground, thanking God for sparing the life of her son.