Nyesom Wike, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, has issued a prompt arrest directive for the owner of the collapsed building in Abuja.
The incident occurred on Wednesday night when a two-story structure on Lagos Street in Garki 2, Abuja, collapsed around 11:45 pm. The building in question held the distinction of being among the initial single-storey structures in the vicinity.
With a total of 39 residents, the building housed a tragic incident resulting in the confirmed death of two individuals, while an impressive rescue effort managed to save 37 occupants. These survivors were promptly transported to different hospitals for medical attention.
Regrettably, the rescue efforts encountered sluggish progress throughout the night due to the absence of instant access to an excavator, necessitating entirely manual rescue operations.
As indicated by reports, the rescued victims were conveyed to a range of medical institutions, encompassing the National Hospital in Asokoro, Nyanya Hospital, Garki District Hospitals, as well as Alliance Hospital and Zenith Hospital.
Wike visited the scene on Thursday, expressing his sorrow over the incident and instructing the payment of hospital bills for the injured individuals.
Addressing the situation on-site, Wike highlighted the fact that the initial inhabitants of the region had been earmarked for relocation, a plan that remained unexecuted by the FCT Administration for several years. Expressing his curiosity over this delay, he questioned the reasons behind the prolonged postponement of the resettlement initiative.
Commending the ongoing rescue operations, Wike also took the opportunity to extend his appreciation, stating:
“It is unfortunate that we woke this morning to the very disturbing news of this building collapse. It is not what we contemplated. Let me thank the agencies particularly NEMA and FEMA that have supported us to rescue not less than 37 lives. It is unfortunate that we lost two lives. I will appeal to the Permanent Secretary to make sure that funds are raised to pay the hospital bills of those who were rescued so that we do not lose any more person, and this should be done immediately.
“Secondly, these are the things we have been saying, nobody knows whose turn it will be, therefore when government says it will take actions in areas we believe there are illegal developments or buildings that do not comply with the standard codes, it is not as if anybody has any personal vendetta but for me it is for us to do the right thing.
“I don’t know why it has taken long that the FCTA has not resettled them and so we will take immediate action to see that the indigenes of these place are resettled and then government has to plan out this place.
“When government says take building plan, it is not to suffer anybody but to make sure that everyone is protected. Cities are planned to forestall this kind of occurrences. Imagine buildings without approval. I will ask that we must identify and arrest the owner of this property. It is very important.
“Government will, of course, take over this area and make sure no further development is carried out here. I want all the stakeholders here to please work with government in the interest of everybody. No one has come here to say I like A, I don’t like B. I know sometimes government’s decisions may not be too comfortable with the people, but in the long run, it is in the interest of the people. Now we are all gathered here and none of us is happy we are here. These are the things we are trying to forestall. Again I sympathize with those who lost dear lives, while government will pick up the bills of all those in the hospital. We will also support the rescue efforts and ensure that they get to the last level and rescue everyone still trapped in the rubble”.
In a separate statement, Dr. Abbas Idriss, the Director General of FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), disclosed that a total of 37 individuals were successfully rescued from the site of the building collapse.
Dr. Idriss further mentioned that these victims were promptly transported to multiple medical facilities across Abuja for necessary medical attention.
“Thirty Seven persons have so far been rescued and evacuated to hospital, others reportedly still trapped. Rescue team and others are on ground. Rescue operations on but slowly due to ongoing rain”. They are making frantic efforts at getting an excavator to remove people from the rubble”, he added.
Adding to the discussion, Mukhtar Galadima, the Director of the Department of Development Control, clarified that the building lacked the necessary planning approval due to the fact that the designated area is intended for resettlement purposes.
“The building is located within the Garki indigenous settlement. The building had two suspended floors, one used for commercial activities while the other floors were used as residential accommodation. The building caved in yesterday (Wednesday) and 37 persons were rescued
“The status of the place is that it is not a planned area so the development had no planning approval. In fact, the area is meant for resettlement from here to Apo resettlement town”