Owerri — Four occupants of a two-storey building on Fire Service/Mbaise Road, in Owerri, the Imo State capital died after the building collapsed in the early hours of yesterday. Five other occupants of the building, which is opposite the Owerri Area Police Command headquarters, were rescued but they sustained various degrees of injuries.
The coordinator of Owerri Operations, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Evans Ugoh, who confirmed the casualties to newsmen said rescue operation was ongoing.
"We have been able to rescue five people while four have been confirmed dead, but we are still working to see if there are others still trapped in the building," he said.
Okochukwu Nnadi, an eyewitness and tricycle operator, said the incident happened around 4a.m. on Sunday. "I came out very early to convey early morning worshipers to church before the collapse happened. I was the one who rushed to the police station near the house to alert them on the incident."
Governor Rochas Okorocha, who later visited the scene, said: "This is very sad. I will take drastic measures to checkmate sub-standard buildings in this state, regardless of who is involved," while giving the assurance that the state government would take care of the medical bills of the victims recuperating in the hospital.
A woman and her husband, who were rescued, said three of their children were still trapped in the rubbles. As at the time of filing this report, the rescue workers with their excavators, were working to unearth those still trapped.The Guardian gathered that yesterday's incident would be the fifth building that have collapsed within Owerri capital city and environs in the last one month.