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Shock, Tears As Relations, Friends Mourn Victims Of Jos Building Collapse

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ACHOR ABIMAJE in this report takes a look at the two disasters that engulfed Jos North local government area in quick succession leading to the death of over 17 people in the area.

Residents of Jos North Local Government Area will not forget in a hurry penultimate week following two incidents  that happened in the  area. First of all flood ravaged Zenariya area of the council and swept away a pregnant woman and two other people while  property  worth millions of Naira  was destroyed in the process.

Shortly after the victims of the flood were  buried and just as the dust raised as a result of  their death  was yet to settled down another disaster struck again, this time around a three-storey building collapsed killing  the owner, Alhaji Kabiru Nalele, and  13  other people while four others sustained various degrees of injuries.

They are currently receiving  treatment at the Intensive Care Unit of the Plateau Hospital and Bingham University Teaching Hospital in the state capital.

It was gathered that the owner of the apartment, Alhaji Kabiru Nalele, was not living in the building with his family. He only came visiting.

The ground floor of the building was used as shops and the other two floors were used as residential. The structure also housed a pharmaceutical store that deals in retail and wholesale drugs.

The pharmaceutical store is owned and managed by Nalele’s two daughters.

Many of the sympathisers, who trooped to catch a glimpse of the collapsed building expressed anger at the failure of the state government to enforce strict regulations on residential and business buildings in the city centre.

Meanwhile the Deputy Governor of the state, Professor Sonnie Tyoden, who arrived the scene of the building collapse described the incident as unfortunate stressing that the regulatory agencies saddled with the responsibility of checking construction of buildings would swing into action to do the needful.

Similarly, the management of JMDB also  commiserated with families that lost their loved ones and also those that sustained injuries following the collapse of the three-story building.

According to the agency the sad incident came at the time that the management of JMBD has set in motion modalities as provided by the law towards the removal of all defective structures  poorly constructed and unapproved structures within the metropolis .

We therefore call on members of the public that reside in such structures to vacate immediately ,in addition ,members of the public should report to the board whenever they see any defective structure for necessary action

For Habib Lawal Nalele who is the younger brother of the deceased said his wife called him on phone on her way to Jigawa State asking him if he heard what had happened to his elder brother and he answered in the negative.

Lawal added that at that point immediately he received the call he ran out of his shop to meet one of their boys who confirmed what his wife had earlier  told him.

He said he then rushed to the scene and discovered that the entire building had collapsed.

Lawal disclosed that he met the DPO of C Division who asked him to identify his senior brother’s car which he did and the DPO further asked him, if his brother was in the house.

Lawal told our correspondent that he told the DPO that he was not sure as by the time he got back to the site, three bodies were already removed from the rubbles and taken to the hospital.

He said that Alhaji Nalele’s corpse  was removed from the rubbles around 9.pm adding that they lost 10 members of their family in the incident.

Lawal, however, debunked claims by some that the three-storey building collapsed as a result of poor construction and as such the state government wanted to demolished all other properties of Nalele saying the action would be tantamount to a great injustice to the entire family.

He appealed to the state government through JMDB that a committee should be set up using professionals to access the properties and that they failed quality test the buildings should be demolished.

Lawal added, “A situation whereby people’s house is demolished based on mere hearsay is not a good development. There must be a serious assessment by professionals who would certify whether or not and certified not fit to stand before any demolition could be carried out.”

He described his elder brother as a peace-loving man who carried out his business activities without any problem with anybody stressing that he had empowered over 40 people to earn a living independently and treat people who came across him equally irrespective of religion, ethnic and political differences.

According to him, Nalele will be greatly missed by members of the family and the entire people of the state at large.

Speaking to our correspondent at the family residence along Central Mosque, another relation, Alhaji Sani Mudi, said Nalele was his in-law adding that he is an elder brother to his wife.

Mudi described the late Nalele as a vibrant  entrepreneur and resourceful person who employed over 30 youths in an effort to create jobs and eradicate poverty.

According to Mudi, the deceased who owned a pharmaceutical shop gave free drugs to the less privilege in the society be a Christian or Muslim in the area adding that the deceased touched so many lives both within and outside the state.

“He was a complete gentleman who is loved by so many who came into contact with him either through business or whatever”, adding that he was happy that the deceased lived a very useful life which impacted positively on families and members of the communities both far and near.

In the same vein the Plateau State APC elders council led by Chief Captain Joseph Din (retd) in a condolence visit to the deceased’s family compound described the development that led to the demise of Alhaji Kabiru Nalele and 13 others  as very sad and unfortunate.

Din who led other APC elders like Pam Dung Gyang, Samai’la Danko Makama, Wakless among others said God knows why it happened this way adding that God Almighty should console the family saying in only Him could they find solace.

One of the tenants of the deceased simply known as Isah told our correspondent that Nalele popularly called King Seriki said apart from the building that collapsed, the deceased had many other properties.

He disclosed that the deceased though the owner of the collapsed was not residing there.

Isah added that Nalele was informed by one of his children that they noticed a crack on the wall of the three-storey edifice.

Isah pointed out that it was against this background that Nalele mobilized workers to go and patch the portion that cracked. He came in with some of the workers who were supposed to carry out the repairs and his children were showing him areas that cracked when all of a sudden the entire building  crumbled to the ground killing him, his daughter, Safiya,  two wives and others.

He described Nalele as an easy-going man who never disturbed his tenants over house rent.

He described the dead girl, Amina, as a humble girl who discharged every assignment given to her by her father with utmost sense of humility.

However,  member representing Jos North /Bassa Federal Constituency, Haruna Matala, in  a press statement made available to our correspondent by the Director-General Maitala Campaign Organisation,  Alhaji Mustapha Idris, expressed shock over the building collapse where many lost their beloved ones, saying it was an issue of concern to the state.

Maitala called on the Engineering Council of Nigeria to fish out those using substandard materials during the construction of buildings.

Also member representing Jos North at the Plateau State House of Assembly and  former Deputy Speaker, Ibrahim Baba-Hassan, said the state was mourning the deaths of those who were killed in the building collapse.

He said it was very unfortunate that lives were lost, people injured and property lost while people were carrying out their legitimate businesses of the day.

Baba-Hassan appealed to the Plateau State government for quick intervention and commended the prompt response of good-spirited individuals who immediately started the rescue efforts before the arrival of other agencies that aided the rescue efforts.

He also gave a thumb-up to the Red Cross, State Emergency Management Agency and other stakeholders who were part of the rescue efforts at the site of the collapsed building.

He prayed to God to grant the injured quick recovery, stating that efforts would be put to check and guard against a recurrence of such in any part of the state

Furthermore , Nurudden Musa the principal search and rescue  operations of NEMA appealed to the members of the public to desist from building houses on water way stressing that human life has no spare.

He pointed out that for a building to collapse to the ground completely it must have been showing signs adding that relevant government agencies should as a matter of urgency step up actions to check the menace of building collapse in the country.

Similarly, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the state’s March 2019 governorship race, Mr. Jeremiah Useni, has blamed the incident on government neglect.

“Most of the buildings in this part of the city are in bad shape and I expect the ministries of Works, Environment and Urban Development to have done something about it,” he said.

Useni, a former senator and minister of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, however, called for close supervision of all urban building constructions.

In the same vein the present senator of Plateau North, Mr. Istifanus Gyang, equally urged regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with building standards.

“This unfortunate incident also calls for attention by regulatory agencies like the Jos Metropolitan Development Board, JMDB to ensure that all property developers comply with the required and applicable standards to avoid similar occurrence in future,” Gyang said in a press statement, Tuesday.

He also called for emergency agencies to be strengthened for “prompt and effective” response during emergencies

Meanwhile the chairman of Jos North Local Government council Mr. Philip Nyam Arin has  frowned at the use of substandard materials where cheap building materials are used for building even  as he called on the engineering council of Nigeria to do the needful towards addressing the constant problems of building collapse in the country.

Arin said he was appealing to the residents of Jos North to urgently vacate waterways to prevent unnecessary death of citizens.

He warned those who build by blocking waterways or used substandard materials in construction, adding that Jos North would would soon set up a task force to demolish such buildings because, “we can’t afford to be losing human beings at this time.

‘We have sponsored jingles on the radio to educate and enlighten the general public on the danger of building on drainages but my appeal now to everyone is to relocate to safer areas especially during the raining season.”

Also speaking during a visit to the site the acting executive secretary of the Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers, Engr. Okey Ezema, said this building was another case of quackery because there was ample evidence.

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