Daily Trust (Abuja)

8 August 2012

Nigeria: Two Dead in Abuja Building Collapse

An uncompleted two storey building collapsed in the early hours of today at Dutse in Bwari Area Council, Abuja, killing two people and injuring nine other occupants of the building.

Our reporter, who arrived the scene at about 6: 30am, learnt that the victims were allegedly occupying the building illegally.

An eyewitness, Jide Johnson, who lives close to the building, told our reporter that the two storey building was made up of a total of nine flats, adding that the incident happened at about 3: 30 am.

He said over 30 people usually sleep inside the building but most of them had gone out for the early morning Ramadan breakfast and this reduced the casualty figure. He said that the building had been there for over four years.

Our reporter observed a combined rescue team comprised of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Civil and Security Defence Corps (NCSDC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the police, fire service and other paramilitary services carrying out rescue operation at the scene of the incident.

Similarly, Dantata & Sawoe led by Engineer Sanusi Dantata and SCC construction companies led by its Project manager, Alon Cohen moved in their equipment to evacuate the debris from the building as part of rescue operation.

Speaking on the incident, the NEMA zonal coordinator, Abuja operation office, Ishaya Isah Chonoko, said two corpses were removed from the debris, while nine others were rushed to the Kubwa General Hospital by men of the FRSC.

He said the leader of the Hausa community in the area, Mallam Bala Umar, requested for the two copses for burial in accordance with Islamic injunction and they were released to them.

Although, the NEMA zonal co-ordinator said it might be too early to know the cause of the collapse, he said, "from what we are seeing here now, it is clear that the cause may not be far away from pure violation of building code in the construction of the building.

The Bwari Divisional Officer of the NCSDC, Efere John Joseph, who also confirmed the casualty figures, said his men were immediately mobilised to the area to take part in the rescue operation.

The Dutsen-Alhaji Divisional Police Officer, Nnanna Ama, said his men were fully mobilised to join the rescue team and ensure peaceful environment at the scene.

Dutsen-Alhaji Unit Commander of the FRSC, Igwe Henry, also confirmed that nine injured survivals from the incident were rushed to the Kubwa General Hospital by his men.

Officials of the FCT Department of Development Control at the scene said the house has been marked for work stoppage in order to carry out integrity test but they declined further comments.

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