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As rescue efforts continued, Ibrahim Farinloye, NEMA South West Spokesperson, said that the agency was “chased out” of the accident scene by Wale Ahmed, the Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties. “NEMA (was) chased out of rescue site by Lagos Commissioner for Special Duties after we have rescued 3 alive and 4 dead,” Mr. Farinloye said .
“He said he will ask his people to deal with us if we are not careful,” he added. Mr. Farinloye said he was granting an interview to a Nigeria Television Authority reporter when Mr. Ahmed, who arrived alongside the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), threatened to send the Rapid Response Squad after him.
“I contacted headquarters and they said I should leave for peace to reign,” Mr. Farinloye added. However, when contacted, Mr. Ahmed said that it was not true. “I only told him it was quite premature to start granting interview when we were yet to know what was still under the rubble,” Mr. Ahmed said in a response to a text message enquiry.
Sunday’s incident revealed a deep seated animosity between the two government agencies. At the last collapsed building site, about ten days ago, a disparity in the casualty figures released by both agencies highlighted the chasm in their operations.
While NEMA said that seven people, including two children aged two and four, were rescued from the rubble, as well as seven dead bodies recovered; LASEMA said ten people were injured while four, including a child, died in the collapse. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, General Manager of LASEMA, described NEMA as “our secondary responder.”
“It is the primary responder (LASEMA) that is supposed to give you the exact figure. We are in a better place to inform you people what is going on. “We work hand in hand with NEMA, they are our secondary responder. But there is no how a secondary responder will know more than the primary responder,” Mr. Oke-Osanyintolu added.