One death has been confirmed, two people trapped under the rubble of a two-storey building believed to be a shopping center under construction, near Aso Sparen in Kubwa, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, which collapsed. during the night.
FCT Minister Ikharo Attah’s senior special assistant for supervision, inspection and enforcement, who confirmed the development to Tribune Online, said; “Well, the work is at an advanced stage, there is so much going on on the Kubwa collapsed building issue, very sad, I think more than five people have been rescued so far.
“At this point, one of the males has been pulled from the rubble. I think he appears to be dead and has been evacuated to the morgue at Kubwa General Hospital, it’s a painful one but the search for the last man, who some said came in to stay there, we’re praying we can hopefully get there get a living.”
The incident, which took place around 11:25 p.m. on Thursday, is believed to have been caused by changes in the construction plan.
It turned out that the owner of the building converted the second floor into a residential apartment of three and two-room apartments respectively, while the ground floor was used for shops.
Previously, Manzo Ezekiel, the spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said the agency was notified of the incident around 1 a.m. this morning and that the head of the NEMA Abuja Operations Office immediately mobilized first responders, including the FCT. Emergency Management, Fire, Civil Defense (NSCDC) and Nigerian Police on the scene.
He confirmed that five people have been rescued so far, while two others were trapped under the rubble.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Emmanuel Umeke, who lives very close to the scene of the incident, explained that the building collapsed around 11:25 PM on Thursday evening.
He said: “Last night around 11:25 pm we heard a very heavy noise that shook the whole place. I thought it was an earthquake, I thought my house was about to collapse, I opened my window and sawdust everywhere.
“I came out with my family and saw that the building had collapsed, I told my wife I was not surprised that the building collapsed, because the building was supposed to be a shopping center, I started to see blocks go in, I went to inside and saw them convert the first and second floors into three and two bedroom flats for residential apartments.
“The pillar I saw there I knew that those tiles and blocks they took into the building couldn’t bear. I told my wife and neighbor to be careful around the building.”
Another eyewitness, Obus Chibuike, said they were in their house adjacent to the collapsed building when they heard the loud noise that their gate fell over.
“We ran outside when we heard the noise and saw that the building close to us had collapsed and our fence had also collapsed, with several blocks hitting our cars parked by the fence.
“We did what we could to save people and three of the people who were inside escaped, while we were able to rescue one person from the building this morning,” he said.
Meanwhile, the director of the FCT’s development control department, Mukthar Galadima, who was on the scene, said it happened minutes before midnight on Thursday.
According to him, preliminary reports had revealed that the building was located in a swampy area and that the correct materials were not used during construction.
At the time of filing this report, attempts to contact the owner of the building had failed.