Three dead, 35 rescued in FCT collapsed building

*I escaped with only these clothes on me,’ says survivor

Three people have been declared dead after a two storey building collapsed in the early hours of Thursday in Garki village, Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja.

According to government officials undertaking rescue operations at the venue, the building came crashing down on unsuspecting residents shortly after midnight while it was raining non-stop, killing two at venue while one later died in the hospital.

FCT Minister who arrive the venue to assess the situation, ordered the immediate arrest of the owners of the property and an investigation into the remote and immediate causes of the building collapse.

Wike who warned that enough is enough of indiduals building without approved building plan and use of substandard materials, said “We will identify and arrest the owners of the building.”

The minister assured that government will take care of the hospital bill and treatment of those rescued and are receiving treatment for various degree of injuries in hospitals.

A resident of the collapse building, gift Eze, who survived the accident, said they escaped the accident with only the clothes on their bodies .She called on the government to provide immediate relief and support for them.

“I escaped with only these clothes on me, the house, property, everything is gone, please we need immediate help. Where do we sleep tonight and where do we live?

Senator Ireti Kingibe, representing the FACT, who arrived at the venue shortly after the departure of the FCT minister, decried the spare of building collapse in the FCT and the attendant loss of lives and property.

She task regulatory bodies to conduct periodic checks on buildings across the FCT to avoid a repeat of the incident.

She said although the area is a local Gbagyi setting, it is important to follow standards when setting up any building structure to avoid building collapse.

“Everyone intending to build should get proper approval before doing so. This is an old building but the agencies should have a process where they go regularly to assess old buildings like this and while they do that, we the public should comply.”

Officials of the FCT Development Control, FCT FERMA and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, (SON), among others, all agreed that the about 30 years old building was already distress and therefore no longer fit for people to live in.

District Head, Garki , Stephen Yakubu, explained that the owner of the building had already given the occupants quit notice for a while now because the building had already depreciated and is almost collapsing but some of occupants still stayed back for lack of where to immediately move to and were unfortunately caught up in the disaster.

He said “Based on the information we were told, the owner had already given them quite notice when he realised that the building was depreciating and it was almost collapsing but for over two months now, they have refused to leave perhaps the reason could be that they didn’t have accommodation anywhere.

“We are deeply saddened over the loss of lives there. Nobody is happy because losing a life, even if it is a baby, it is something that is quite worrisome. We are working with the authorities to prevent these from happening again,” he said.

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