Search and rescue work continued in Nigeria on Thursday after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside.

Eight people were dead and 37 were rescued, a National Emergency Management Agency spokesman said late Wednesday.

An unknown number remained missing. Frantic efforts went on overnight to find signs of life in the debris.

Emergency workers attend the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Emergency workers attend the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

It was not yet known what caused the collapse of the three-story building in a densely crowded neighborhood at the heart of Nigeria’ commercial capital, Lagos.

Building collapses are all too common in the West African nation, where new construction often goes up without regulatory oversight.

Lagos state Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode has said the building, which had been marked for demolition, was classified as residential and the school was operating illegally on the top two floors.

People gather near the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
People gather near the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Anguished families crowded around the flattened remains of the building. The crowd had cheered on Wednesday as dust-covered, shocked-looking children were carried out one by one. Other bodies hung limp over workers’ shoulders.

As many as 100 children had been in the primary school on the building’s top floors, witnesses said. Some authorities disputed that, but all grieved.

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

Emergency workers attend the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Emergency workers attend the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

The collapse came as Buhari, newly elected to a second term as president, tries to improve groaning, inefficient infrastructure in Africa’s most populous nation.

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Emergency workers attend the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Emergency workers attend the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
People help rescue teams at the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
People help rescue teams at the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Local people at the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Local people at the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Local people at the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Local people at the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A woman at the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A woman at the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. Search and rescue work continues in Nigeria a day after a building containing a school collapsed with scores of children said to be inside. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Emergency workers attend the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Emergency workers attend the scene after a building collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

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