Awka — The incessant cases of building collapse in Anambra State, especially in the recent times have continued to be a source of worry both to the state government and residents alike.
Despite government's efforts to eliminate such occurrences through policies and establishment of agencies, the ugly incidents have continued.
Just within a space of two years, no fewer than six cases of building collapse have been recorded in the state.
In March this year, an uncompleted twin three-storey hotel at Nkwo-Eziudo market, along the Ogidi-Abatete road, Ogidi near Onitsha was reported to have collapsed.
Though no death or injuries were recorded. About 20 workers were said to have worked on the site during the work hours before the building collapsed.
In Orumba North Local Government alone, about four buildings have collapsed in Oko, with the recent one occurring in Okani village, in the same local government area.
While some blamed the ugly development on the substandard materials used in construction of the buildings, others attribute it to the topography of the area which is said to be erosion prone.
Also many blamed the labourers working on the site of converting the structure to their dwelling place even when it was still under construction, where three persons were reported to have died.
Narrating the incident to our correspondent at the scene, Angela, a woman living close to the scene of the incident, said part of the building which was near completion collapsed on Monday afternoon after a heavy downpour.
Another resident, Uche Oga, who revealed that the building, located close to the Federal Polytechnics, was meant for commercial purposes, accused the owner, an indigene of the community but based in Europe of being responsible for the ugly incident.
"Mere looking at the materials and how the entire building came down like a park of cards, you don't need anyone to tell you that standards were compromised," she said.
Osita, a resident while said some government agencies responsible for approval and certification compromise in terms of execution, implementation and enforcement of policies, called for a change of attitude to avert future occurrences.
A staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Evans Ehirim, advised contractors to always insist on quality and specifications, just as he enjoined the students to be more careful when looking for accommodation.
A source told Daily Trust that the foundation of the building indicated that it was originally designed to be a two story building.
"The extra two stories was an afterthought. That is what greed can cause. I just pity those that lost their lives as a result," the source added.
When contacted, Chairman, Anambra state Material Testing Laboratory, Mrs Ebosi Ezeoke, confirmed that notices were severally served to the owner without any compliance from him.
She stressed the need for people to take advantage of the infrastructure put in place by the government to minimize building collapse.
"This again demonstrates the attitude of non compliance to instructions. We have evidences of notices adequately served and there was no compliance. This is part of the problem we are dealing with," she added.
Also speaking, the General Manager, Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Mrs Ngozi Atisele, while noting that investigation has commenced to ascertain the remote and immediate cause of the incident, revealed that the developer refused to comply to laid down procedures, even after submitting the building plan.
The state Vice Chairman, Nigerian Red Cross society, Professor Peter Katchy, who had earlier confirmed the incident and casualty figures, said the building was meant to serve as hostels for the students.
Also reacting, the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr Sam Okaula, said efforts are on to effect arrest of the owner of the building and his site engineer, adding that investigation is ongoing.
"The police had mounted a manhunt for the owner of the building and te site engineer. We learnt he lives abroad and that the collapse was caused by use of substandard materials," he added.