High-Rise That Collapsed in Nigeria Was Supposed to Be 15 Floors, Not 21: Officials

Nigerian officials arrested an owner of a high-rise apartment building that suddenly collapsed Monday, killed at least 14 people. The suspected cause is unapproved construction, the Associated Press reported.

The collapse left dozens missing beneath the rubble on Tuesday. The building's owner received approval for a 15-floor building but instead made it 21.

Officials said the property developers added six more floors than what was approved by the city of Lagos, and many believe the additional weight could have contributed to the collapse. The government-run News Agency of Nigeria reported that the building's owner had been arrested on undisclosed charges.

The general manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Gbolahan Oki, said the building was not built as it should have been.

"I am on the ground here and the materials he used are so inferior and terrible. He got approval for 15 floors but built 21," Oki said.

Nine people have been pulled from the site alive, according to officials, but relatives were angry at what they called a slow pace of rescue that began hours after the collapse.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Nigeria Building Collapse
Nigerian officials arrested an owner of a high-rise apartment building that suddenly collapsed Monday, killed at least 14 people. Above, the rubble of the collapsed 21-story apartment building under construction in Lagos on November 2, 2021. Sunday Alamba/Associated Press

"More equipment and personnel have been deployed in the site to save more lives," Lagos commissioner for information Gbenga Omotoso said.

On Tuesday, distressed relatives whose loved ones were missing sat together by the road consoling one another. Afolabi Sunny said his 25-year-old sister, Oyindamola, had only recently started to work at the construction site as a participant of the National Youth Service Corps just months after she graduated from school.

"They are trying. Everybody is just trying," he said of the rescue operation. "But as far as my sister is not one of those brought out, they are not trying."

Others at the scene shouted in anger, saying the rescue operation was too slow and that they should be allowed to join the effort. It took about three hours before the first excavator arrived at the scene Monday afternoon.

"Some of us have our brothers there," one man shouted. "They are not doing much inside there, so why can't they allow us?"

Mama Segun said her son had been making a brief visit to see a friend when the building came down.

"He wanted to go back yesterday to the United States, so he said he should come and see the landlord" before heading to the airport, she said. He never made the flight and has not been heard from since.