20 dead, mostly children, in Nigeria building collapse

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Twenty people are confirmed dead in the school building that collapsed in Nigeria on Wednesday, and most of them are children, an official said Friday.

Forty-three other people were rescued, Lagos State Health Commissioner Jide Idris told The Associated Press. The disaster occurred in the heart of Nigeria's commercial capital.

Officials have said the three-story residential building had been marked for demolition and that the school was operating illegally on the top two floors. It is still not clear how many people were inside when it collapsed.

Rescue crews halted their search on Thursday, saying they had reached the building's foundation without finding any other victims. Some anguished families protested and sifted through the rubble for any sign of their children.

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Last Sunday, T.B. Joshua played footage of the horrific moment a guest-house collapsed.#VIDEO http://t.co/7ztAsQSdvS http://t.co/n46H4XlrYT
Headquarters of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the Ikotun neighborhood in Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on September 16, with fears that the toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Spokesman of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) southwest region, Ibrahim Farinloye, speaks about the casuality figure at the scene of the collapsed church guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the Ikotun neighborhood in Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on September 16, with fears that the toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
A paramilitary officer wears a face mask at the scene of the collapsed church guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the Ikotun neighborhood in Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on September 16, with fears that the toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Nigerian red cross workers gather at the scene of the collapsed church guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the Ikotun neighborhood in Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on September 16, with fears that the toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
A policeman monitors the excavation of the collapsed guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the Ikotun neighborhood of Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on September 16, with fears that the toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers clear the debris of a collapsed guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) at Ikotun in Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on September 16, with fears that the toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Debris of a collapsed guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) is piled up at Ikotun a neighborhood of Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on September 16, with fears that the toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers stand as a caterpillar tries to excavate rubble of the collapsed building in search of missing persons at the Ikotun headquarters of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos on September 17, 2014. A popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist was under mounting pressure to co-operate with the authorities after a fatal building collapse in Lagos that claimed at least 67 lives.TB Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) have so far failed to disclose information to the investigation, the state government and emergency services said. Some 67 South Africans died when a hostel for Joshua's foreign followers collapsed on September 12, President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria September 16, with fears that the death toll could rise further. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
BUILDING COLLAPSE, LAGOS, NIOGERIA - SEPTEMBER 13, 2014: On September 12th, 2014 a two-story building collapsed and was located in the expansive compound of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations in the Ikotun area of Lagos. This image was captured on September 13th, 2013 by DigitalGlobe's WorldView-1 Satellite.
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Building collapses are all too common in the West African nation, where new construction often goes up without regulatory oversight. Official moved through the neighborhood on Thursday, marking other derelict buildings for demolition.

Adeyemo Sunday, the father of twins, mourned one of his sons. The other was pulled out alive, he said.

Sunday said his family lived on the building's second floor and he sent his boys to school there so they wouldn't have to travel far.

Another parent, Yewande Ogunsanwo, said her son remained in critical condition on Thursday.

"Let's thank God for God, he's getting better but his condition is so critical," she said. "The pain is too much."

The collapse came as President Muhammadu Buhari, newly elected to a second term, tries to improve the distressed infrastructure in Africa's most populous nation.

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