A three-story building under construction has collapsed in Jabi, Abuja, with one person confirmed dead and several others injured.
The incident, which occurred around 1.30pm yesterday, caused high degree of injuries on several other persons.
As at the time of filing this report, out of the 18 people in the building when it collapsed, only five people had been rescued including the body of the dead man, while four others, who were critically injured, including the site engineer, were rushed to a nearby hospital.
It was learnt that the building, which was about 15 years old, collapsed on the victims who had just resumed renovation and construction on the site.
Eyewitnesses blamed the incident on the use of fake materials.
According to the director, Department of Development Control (DDC) FCT, Abuja, Mukhtar Galadima, the materials used in the original construction of the building were poor in quality. He said that investigation was already ongoing to determine if approval was given for workers to return to site and start work on the building, which was already in decrepit condition.
“It is really unfortunate that the building collapsed and people are trapped. Secondly, from preliminary investigation, it has been discovered that the materials used in the construction of the building were compromised.
“What I would like to find out is if the workers actually resumed work. And if that is so, was there an approval for them to resume work and before resuming work, I would like to know if they conducted some integrity tests, which they should have done. More comprehensive investigation will be done.”
While speaking, the director general of Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) Prof Slim Matawal, said that the concrete construction of the building was bad and that proper consideration was not put into the foundation of the building in line with the height of the building. He said that the owner of the building has to be arrested.
“If the construction of the building had good concrete, there is no way you can pull out this type of construction steel because there will be proper burns between the concrete and this steel. We have seen a lot of fresh concrete and we have also learnt that the building had been abandoned for about 15 years and it has just been revisited for construction.
“Before a building that has been abandoned for a long time can undergo construction again, the building has to be revisited and the structural integrity of the building studied. If the design of a building is properly done and the construction sequence followed, it is expected that this building would have been constructed with the number of floors originally planned.
“However, if the construction was for a lower number of floors and then suddenly people want to increase the number of floors without proper revisit to the design, then it is absolutely wrong. And nobody is certain of what happened here, but we have seen poor construction as evident in the quality of concrete, the steel used is totally dissociated from the concrete.
“There are issues about this and we are appealing to the department of development control to first of all, arrest the owner of this building and put him behind bars and then the engineers, architects and construction workers must undergo proper investigation so that an example can be set and a repeat of this kind in the future can be averted.”
A lady, Helen, who is a groundnut seller, narrowly escaped being a victim of the accident. She narrates her experience. “I went to the building to sell groundnut to one of the workers. I was able to sell groundnut worth N150. After selling the groundnut, before collecting my money, the worker asked me to go and help him ask a woman selling milk on the road to come. Immediately I stepped out of the building, it collapsed. I’m really shocked right now.”
According to the director general of FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Abbas Idriss, he said that this is not the first time such an incident would occur in the federal capital territory. He said that experts and builders have always been advised to pay attention to the building plan to avoid such an incident.
“It is an unfortunate situation. Experts and builders have always been advised to follow the building plan to avoid accidents like this. If you observe, you would notice that every day, officials of the department of development control are always at demolition sites. And if you have abandoned a building for a while, you have to get the DDC to certify before you continue construction on the building.”
As at the time of filing this report, efforts were still being made to rescue more people from the wreckage.