Rescue workers halt search of collapsed school building in Nigeria

Government officials examine materials used in constructing the building that collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria Credit: Sunday Alamba/AP

The search for survivors among the rubble of a collapsed school building in Lagos has been stopped.

Officials said the death toll stood at eight and could rise as an unknown number of people, including as many as 100 children according to unofficial witness reports, remained missing.

Officials said on Wednesday that 37 people had been freed.

Despite protests from some anguished families, a National Emergency Management Agency official said workers had reached the foundation of the collapsed three-storey building and did not expect to find more people.

Frantic efforts had continued into the night to find signs of life among the debris.

It is not yet known what caused the collapse of the building containing a school in a crowded neighbourhood at the heart of Nigeria’s commercial capital.

The building was marked for demolition and the school was operating illegally on the top two floors, Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode said.

Emergency crews in Lagos worked through the night looking for survivors after a building collapsed Credit: Sunday Alamba/AP

A crowd of hundreds of people had cheered on Wednesday as dust-covered children were carried out one by one.

“It touches one to lose precious lives in any kind of mishap, particularly those so young and tender,” said Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.