Posted on August 21, 2017
A three-storey building collapsed in the early hours of yesterday in Owerri, the Imo State capital, killing four of the occupants instantly, while three others sustained severe injuries.
The building was the fifth to collapse in the past one month in the state. According to a source, the building was originally erected as a one storey-building, before additional two floors were added to it.
An eyewitness said the building made a cracking noise prior to its collapse.
Daily Sun gathered that 18-month-old little Osinachi Nnabu, three-year-old boy, Amara and two adults whose identities were yet to be ascertained as at press time, were among the deceased.
However, parents of the deceased Osinachi, Mr and Mrs Dominic Nnabu and Mr. Sunday Uzohor, only suffered minor injuries and are in stable condition.
Two corps members, one Chinedu, her colleague said to be a law graduate and Mr Anoruo who were earlier trapped in the collapsed building were brought out unconscious and taken to the Police Clinic, Owerri.
The rescue of the corps members took eight hours as they were buried in the rubbles of the collapsed building.
One of the survivors, Uzoha, said there was nothing that showed that danger was lurking, adding that it was by the grace of God that he survived.
Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike said preliminary investigation showed that the tragedy was as a result of unprofessional construction work by the engineering firm.
He said the command would prosecute all those whose actions and inactions caused the disaster.
A representative of the state chapter of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Kingsley Onwubiko said investigation had revealed that the tragedy was as a result of unprofessional approach.
According to him, the building was an old one which its owner, against professional guidelines decided to extend to three-storey building.
He said his association would collaborate with security agencies to ensure that culprits did not escape justice.
Meanwhile, Governor Rochas Okorocha, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Owerri, Kingsley Uju, an engineer, among others were at the scene of the collapsed building as well as hundreds of sympathisers.
A statement by Sam Onwuemeodo, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, said the governor who was furious about the poor foundation of the building ordered that it be completely demolished along with another building beside it to serve a deterrent to others.
The governor promised to pay the medical bills of the injured, while he urged rescuers to work harder to rescue those who may have been trapped.
Okorocha warned against the use of non-professionals and substandard materials in the construction of buildings by builders.He lamented that the non-engagement of engineers and other related professionals and the use of inferior materials remain major causes of building collapse.
The governor promised that his government would look into the cause of building collapse regretting that before now few other houses had also collapsed.
He advised those who want to build to engage the services of professionals and ensure the use of quality materials and advised that people should stop building on dredges, gutters and sucker-ways.