The building, located on Gerald Road in the city’s affluent Ikoyi neighborhood, is a luxury apartment construction site. It is unclear how many people were inside when it fell.
“I thought it was an earthquake when I ran out of my apartment shortly after 3 in the afternoon. I felt the building move and I knew something was wrong,” Olu Apata, a nearby resident and president of the Bar Association, told CNN. from Nigeria.
Apata said the building has been under construction for the past two years and that the developer was at the site’s meeting with potential buyers on Monday.
Since then, three people have been rescued from the collapse, according to a Lagos state government statement, adding that the city’s rescue unit, fire service and ambulance service were on site.
The statement did not indicate how many people are currently missing.
The investigation into the cause of the collapse is ongoing and officials on the ground are assessing possible damage to surrounding structures, according to the statement.
Muhammad, an official, told CNN he was in his office next door when the building collapsed. “We just heard an unusual loud sound from our office building and the building we occupied was vibrating. So I looked out the window, only to see the building collapsing floor after floor. And of course we all ran to safety.”
The rescue services took a while to reach the scene. Hours after the collapse, hundreds of people were milling around the site, inspecting helpless concrete slabs stacked in a heap. The locals excavated the remains by hand.
Some in the crowd were furious that an official emergency response had not begun.
Instead, rescue efforts were being carried out by bystanders like Rashid Olamilekan, who told CNN that he had pulled three construction workers out of the rubble. “I am Nigerian. I have to rescue my people,” he said. The rescued workers had been taken to hospital, Olamilekan added.
The Nigerian Red Cross was also present.
Building collapses are not uncommon in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city with a population of around 20 million people.
An expert told CNN at the time that more than 1,000 buildings were at risk of collapsing in Lagos.