By Uche Nwosu
A three-storey building located on Azikiwe Road, Aba, Abia State at the early hours of Wednesday morning collapsed, killing two persons on the spot, even as its reportedly trapped five others trapped in the rubble.
However, another victim was miraculously rescued in the rubble and sent to an undisclosed hospital in the city. It was learnt that the deceased and the survivor of the collapsed building were alleged destitute who usually take refuge in the building and were there when the structures came crashing on them. When reporters visited the collapsed building, no excavator or other any earthmoving equipment was seen on ground to help in the rescue efforts, but sympathizers managed to wade in through some open parts of the collapsed building to rescue the survivor.
Volunteers and sympathizers were trying to assist in the rescue efforts were attacked by some hoodlums who accused them of taking undue advantage of the situation. They also harassed those taking pictures with their phones. A shop owner in the area said the incident happened on early hours of Wednesday as the building was still under construction, adding that the traders around there had clue that it would go down the next day. “The building was still standing when I closed for business yesterday (Tuesday).
Construction work was as at that time going on, but when I came back this morning (Wednesday), the building had collapsed. “We were told that two persons were confirmed dead, one rescued and taken to hospital, and I do that five persons are still trapped in the building.” However, most people attributed the cause of the collapse to use of inferior materials by the contractor. Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna said his men were waiting for the arrival of an excavator in order to rescue those were still trapped in the rubble.
However, Mr Bob Ogu, the Commissioner for Works in Abia State, who confirmed arrival of an excavator later said more people could still be trapped in the rubble, even as he believed that those still trapped in the building would be rescued.
EndUche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000; He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.