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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Nigeria building search goes on

A search for survivors is continuing after a building collapsed in Nigeria's main city of Lagos on Tuesday.

At least 25 bodies had been recovered by Thursday afternoon and 50 survivors had been rescued by Wednesday evening. No more survivors appeared after that.

It is not known how many were in the block when it fell. Officials say bad construction caused the accident.

Lifting equipment sent by a building firm to help the rescue on Wednesday did not return on Thursday morning.

People are digging with spades and picks, the BBC's Alex Last in Lagos says.

Heavy rain has further hampered the rescue operation.

"Nobody has been pulled out between last night and this morning," Red Cross disaster officer Umar Mairiga said.

"The official figure we have is still 20 dead and 50 survivors."

The Red Cross is co-ordinating the search, with much of the digging being done by local people.

Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu vowed to prosecute those responsible for allegedly shoddy construction of the 36-flat complex, news agency AP said.

Crowds cheered as a woman was brought out alive on Wednesday morning, AP reported, but no more cries for help have been heard from inside the buidling since then.

But police later had to beat off crowds of upset relatives looking for missing relatives. The collapse happened after many of the occupants had returned from work on Tuesday evening.

"It was a gory sight. I was coming out of my house when I heard a loud bang and the four-storey structure suddenly caved in," eyewitness Debo Ajala told AFP.

Our correspondent says the building in the residential area of Ebute Metta was relatively new - thought to be not more than three years old.

Dozens have died in recent years in Lagos as poorly maintained buildings have collapsed.

In March, one of Lagos' tallest buildings caved in during a heavy thunderstorm in the heart of the commercial district. The building had been sealed off after a fire on the eighth floor.

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