Abuja Building Collapses, One Person Dead, Two Trapped

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja 

One person has been confirmed dead while two others are trapped in a collapsed building in Kubwa, Abuja, on Friday. 

The Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah confirmed that the shopping mall, which  was being redesigned into residential apartment, went down early Thursday morning,  claimed the life of one person.

A combined team of the responders from Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps( NSCDC) and others have also rescued five victims from the rubble while at least two others remain missing.

Some of the persons said to be trapped in the collapsed building were the security man and some other workers on the site.

The building according to eyewitnesses, was being converted from a shopping mall to a residential apartment, with the developer, adding at least two more floors to an already existing structure in apparent contravention of building code

“It happened around 11.30pm yesterday. We were seven people sleeping here. One person slept at the boys quarters, another slept at the security post, and then the remaining five slept in the main building. Five of us have been rescued. It remains a security man, and the man that brought me here,” one of the survivors told newsmen.

Attah said the owner of the property was fore-warned by concerned residents.

“The building was initially a shopping mall, but the report we got from residents was that the owner was warned, and at a certain point, it was now being converted to a residential apartment. 

“The down floor was a shopping mall, but they were putting up some blocks of flat on the first and second suspended floors. You cannot alter a shopping mall and convert to a residential building thereby giving it more load than what it was meant to carry,” he noted.

Attah added that the FCT Minister had ordered that integrity tests be carried out on most of the high rise buildings around the area. 

He noted that the combined team of security agencies at the scene was currently trailing the owner of the property, who residents suggested may have absconded.

“We have a policy in the FCTA that when a building collapses, the land is forfeited and revoked and the place is converted into a park or garden for residents around the neighbourhood,” he added.

Umar Shago, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, blamed the incident on quackery and shady construction, adding that the FCTA has a policy of subjecting old buildings to integrity test.

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