Number of casualties unknown as building collapses in Abuja

THE number of casualties resulting from the collapse of a three-storey building in the Gwarimpa area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is still yet to be ascertained.

Sector Commander of the FCT Federal Road Safety Corps Ochi Oga disclosed this in an interview with The ICIR.

“We are only removing victims to the hospital as they are. We cannot confirm the number now because as they are bringing them out, the ambulances are carrying them straight to the hospital. We will collate the numbers. But as the rescue is going on, it may not be easy to give you specific numbers.


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“But I’m assuring you that this operation will continue until everybody involved in this is rescued,” he said.

The three-storey building located at 7th Avenue, Gwarimpa, which was still under construction, collapsed at about 10.00am on Thursday, February 2.

Eyewitnesses reported that at least 40 people were trapped in the building at the time of the collapse.

An eyewitness, who gave his name as Samuel, said at least ten people had been rescued from the rubble. He, however, noted that some of those rescued died on the way to the hospital.

“They are up to 10. Some died on the way to the hospital, according to what we heard, but I’m not sure how many,” he said.

Several response teams were involved in the rescue operations, including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Nigerian Police Force (NPF) among others.

The FCT Police Command released a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) Josephine Adeh, pledging its commitment towards the success of the rescue operations.

Parts of the statement read, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Sadiq Abubakar, mni, who personally visited the scene, has assured that the FCT Police would provide all necessary support to ensure the ease of the rescue operations and to ensure hoodlums do not take advantage of the situation. He equally pledged the support of the Command to aid the functions of Building Regulatory and Investigative Bodies within the FCT.




     

     

    “The CP, who described the situation as very unfortunate, called on the residents of the area to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious movement to the Police. He prayed that the victims, especially those reportedly trapped under the rubble, would be rescued and stabilised accordingly.”

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    The leadership of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), who were also present at the scene, urged prospective house owners to pay attention to designs made by structural engineers ahead of construction.

    Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Building Project Evaluation and Monitoring Unit of the CORBON Omale Ameh, encouraged individuals to consult with professional builders before embarking on building projects.

    “If you are doing any endeavor that is related to building, we have the built environment professionals that we encourage individuals going into such projects to consult. In this clime, we run solo and bring in quacks, people that have no knowledge or ideas,” he said.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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