© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Rescue efforts ongoing as victims remain trapped in collapsed building in Port Harcourt
RESCUE efforts are currently ongoing as emergency workers look for victims believed to be trapped in a seven-storey building that collapsed in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, late Friday.
At the last count, about 38 persons have been pulled from the rubbles alive, while six have been confirmed dead, but a yet-to-be-ascertained number of people are said to still be trapped in the building according to witnesses.
The collapsed building is located at Woji Road in the Government Reserved Area of the city, and several construction workers were at the site when the building gave way.
One of the victims who is believed to still be trapped in the rubble is a businessman, whose name was given simply as Ekene. The ICIR understands that he had supplied building materials to the construction site and had gone to collect his payment. He had been in the building for only a few minutes before the collapse occurred.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has ordered the arrest of the contractor in charge of the collapsed building, as well as the owner and the official that approved it. He said this when he led a delegation of government officials to the site of the collapse.
“Whoever that approved this structure and those involved in the construction will face the law. The government will take every necessary step to ensure that culprits are brought to justice,” Wike said.
“Whoever is involved, from the owner or the contractor or the officials of the state, they will face the full weight of the law.
“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.”
Wike pointed out that according to the master plan of the city, a seven-storey building is not allowed at that location, adding that the Rivers State government would take over the property.