School collapse kills five in central Nigeria

Four children and a teacher were killed when an Islamic primary school collapsed near the central Nigerian city of Jos, the country’s main relief agency said today.

The tragedy happened last evening at the Abu Naima school in the Bukuru area to the south of the city, said Mohammed Abdulsalam, from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

“Five people died: four students and one female teacher. Twenty-four people – 21 girls and three boys – were injured and taken to hospital,” he told AFP.

Two of the children who died were boys and two girls. Their ages were not immediately available, said Abdulsalam.

The cause of the collapse was yet to be identified but Abdulsalam said investigators were looking at whether the addition of extra floors onto the single-storey building was a factor.

Heavy rains earlier in the day saw many children stay away from the school, which caters for pupils aged five to 10, he added.

“The rescue operation was concluded last night at about 10 o’clock (2100 GMT). We are going this morning for further checks,” he explained.

Building collapses are common in Nigeria, particularly during seasonal rains. Sub-standard building materials and lack of planning permission are often contributory factors.

Last year, 116 people, most of them South Africans, were killed when a guesthouse for foreign followers of popular pastor and televangelist TB Joshua collapsed in the financial capital, Lagos.

A coroner in July ruled that structural failures caused the collapse and recommended the church should be investigated and prosecuted for not obtaining planning approval.

Extra floors were being added to the building at the time.


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