Olawale Ajimotokan and Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
Disaster struck in Abuja in the early hours of monday when two construction workers were killed in a building that collapsed in the city.
The structure under construction at Plot 444 in Wupa District of Gwarimpa, is said to be located at Gwarimpa, one of the biggest estates in West Africa.
The four-storey building went down, trapping the construction workers in mangled irons and concrete slabs.
Two of the rescued labourers were rushed to the hospital where they are responding to treatment.
Sources at the scene gave the names of the rescued workers as Timothy and Hakeem.
Support agencies led by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Julius Berger and Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps and Development and Control Department of FCDA rushed to the scene to rescue those trapped in the rubble.
Construction giant, Julius Berger brought in heavy tractors and crane, while police dogs were sniffing around for vital signs of those still alive.
THISDAY was informed at the scene by the Special Assistant, Media to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abubakar Sani, that the structuremight have collapsed because it was built with sub-standard materials.
The building was said to be under the supervision of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) which allocated the plot in 2009.
According to Sani, the developers violated what was approved in the plan by erecting a four-floor structure, as against the original plan which only permitted for a suspended floor and a car park.
He also disclosed that the FCDA only found out that the land where the structure was built was a green area reserved for recreation activities, saying that FHA did not inform FCTA until the unfortunate incident monday.
“When FHA found that there was a violation of the building plan, they gave an immediate order for work to stop, but unfortunately the developer refused to comply. Unknown to FHA, the developer was using sub-standard materials, which compromised the structure, resulting in its collapse. We have commenced rescue operations and full investigation into the incident,” Sani said.
But a statement signed by Managing Director FHA, Prof Al-Amin Mohammed, stated that they approved the plan for the developer for a shopping mall.
The authority, however, added that early this year, its development control personnel discovered that work had commenced on a structure behind the mall which was not covered by the earlier approved plan.
It said three contravention notices were issued to the developers, followed by a stop work order, prompting a final demolition notice to be issued on the ill-fated structure in line with established protocols.
‘’We are in consultation with Development Control Department of FCDA for its support in handling the contravention and a follow up meeting was scheduled for this week before the structure came down. FHA is working with the relevant government agencies in the on going rescue operation,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed said FHA complied with established building plan approval and development procedures at all its locations and enforces same with all developers operating on its sites.