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Joshua Yang, of the Lagos state fire service, said the nursery area of the building had now been cleared.

At the Lagos Island Hospital on Thursday, family members huddled around a list of survivors posted at the emergency unit. "I don't know how long it has been", she said, as her eyes filled with tears.

"We had done like 25 before the government team came", said Major, one of the dust-stained young people who spoke to SaharaReporters helping in the rescue effort. Late on Wednesday, officials said 37 people were freed and an unknown number of people are still missing.

Rescue operations have finally ended at the scene of the collapsed building which occurred at 36 Massey street, Lagos Island on Wednesday.

As the day wore on, an AFP correspondent saw several children being brought out, at least one of whom appeared to be dead.

Thirty-seven persons, mostly pupils, were rescued, according to figures released by Ibrahim Farinloye, the spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (Southwest).The school occupied the first and second floors, while the ground floor and third storey were residential.

"Residents, who are the end-users have vital roles to play in curbing building collapse; they are in a better position to detect early illegal, abandoned and substandard constructions", he said. A nearby building had collapsed, and her children were inside it.

"All we are interested in now is to save more lives and also see how those that have been rescued are put in proper place and proper care", he said.

Scores of children are feared trapped after the school collapsed in Nigeria
Scores of children are feared trapped after the school collapsed in Nigeria

Many locals said that the building, which was in an advanced state of disrepair, had been "earmarked" for demolition by the authorities in Lagos state. "The owners of such distressed buildings always boast that they have people in government they can bribe to overlook the proposed demolition of the buildings" one of the residents alleged.

The building was situated in a densely populated part of the city, which is home to around 20 million people.

While some Nigerians were excited by the boy's rescue, others expressed concern about how the massive crowd gathered at the site of the collapsed building.

Despite efforts to renovate the area, a large number of abandoned buildings have been taken over by families or businesses, despite being dilapidated and unsafe.

A study produced by Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing concluded 54 buildings collapsed across the country within a period of four years, news outlet The Punch reported.

He, however, assuring that going forward, structurally defective buildings would be demolished.

There was also an urgent call for wrappers by rescue worker in order to form a tight rope cord in the absence of actual ropes.

In 2016, more than 100 people died when the roof of a church in Uyo, in the south of Nigeria, caved in.