Six persons have been confirmed dead while one person was rescued when a three storey building under construction collapsed in the commercial nerve centre of Aba, Abia State, Wednesday.
The incident occured at 85 Azikiwe road in the city. The victims were said to be squatters in the building as they were alleged to be homeless.
Both the Permanent Secretary, Abia State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Iheanyichukwu Ubani and the Executive Secretary, Aba South Town planning Authority, visited the area to assess the situation. They also, mobilized excavators to clear the rubble in a bid to any other victim who might have been trapped inside the rubble, even as sympathisers had waded in and rescued one survivor before the arrival of the police as well as brought out the body of one of the dead victims.
Hoodlums had a field day attacking sympathizers who stormed the scene taking pictures with their handset.
A trader in the area said the incident happened in early hours of Wednesday following a torrential rain in Aba.
According to the trader, “The building was still standing when I closed for business Tuesday evening. Construction work was ongoing, but when I came on Wednesday, the building had collapsed. Two persons have been confirmed dead, one rescued and taken to hospital while five persons are trapped in the building.”
It is believed that there could more persons trapped as many people usually go into the building to pass the night.
However, most residents attributed the cause of the collapse of the building to the use of inferior materials by the contractor.
Meanwhile, the Abia State government has vowed to prosecute the developer of the collapsed building.
Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had asked the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA, and the Aba South LGA Town Planning Authority to immediately ensure full and safe demolition of the partially collapsed 3-storey buildings in the area.
Kalu further said that security agents were on the trail of the building engineer and developer of the property, pointing out that most of the buildings were hurriedly put up during the COVID-19 lockdown period to evade the eagle eyes of town planning authorities.
Meanwhile, the rescued victim is now receiving medical attention at an undisclosed hospital in the city while the dead ones have been deposited at the hospital morgue in Aba.