By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday ordered the arrest of the owner of seven-storey building which collapsed last Friday in Port Harcourt, killing at least six persons and injuring scores of others.
The governor also directed the State Attorney-General to set up a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the collapse of the private seven-storey building at Woji road, New GRA in Port Harcourt.
Speaking when he led top government officials to visit the site of the collapsed building, Wike described the building collapse as a sad development, which has led to the painful loss of lives.
He said: “I feel so pained that we have to face this kind of calamity at this time. I commiserate with the families that have lost their loved ones who came to seek their daily bread.
“Government will do all it can to give them the necessary support.
“I have directed the Attorney-General of Rivers State to ensure that all legal steps are taken to do what is right within the ambit of the law “.
The governor ordered the immediate arrest of the owner of the collapsed building, saying that the state government would bring all culprits to book.
“Whoever approved this structure and those involved in the construction will face the law. Government will take every necessary step to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.
“Whoever is involved, from the owner or the contractor or the officials of the state, they will face the full weight of the law,” he said.
He also stated that all officials of the Rivers State Government who defaulted in their duties would be sanctioned.
The governor was accompanied by his wife, Justice Eberechi Nyesom-Wike and top government officials.
He said: “Government will take steps to acquire this property. We cannot allow this illegality. If you look at the master plan of this area, a seven-storey building is not allowed here”.
He commended the construction giants, security agencies and non-governmental organisations for working with the Rivers State Government to carry out rescue operations at the site of the building collapse.
The seven-storey building at Woji road collapsed last Friday, with the Rivers State Government mobilising emergency services to rescue trapped persons.
As at yesterday, 38 persons have been rescued, while six persons have been confirmed dead.