Two feared dead, six injured in Abuja building collapse

Two persons were feared dead as  a four-storeyed building collapsed  at Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja, on Monday.

Six construction workers were rescued and taken to the Gwarimpa General Hospital, Life Camp, for treatment.

But the Chief Medical Director, Gwarimpa General Hospital, Dr. Adeyi Adebayo, refused access to the victims, saying they were under intensive care and should not be disturbed.

Findings indicate that the structure which was under construction, collapsed around 1am trapping the eight artisans who slept in the building.

Rescue workers from the National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Julius Berger Plc, were able to rescue six workers after some hours.

The acting Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Hajia Sefinatu Tania, who was at the scene, said the Federal Capital Territory Minister had ordered an investigation into the incident.

She explained that the FCT Administration would sanction any official found to have been unprofessional in the course of approving the building plan.

Our correspondent learnt that the owner of the building was given an approval for a three-storeyed building, but he allegedly added another floor in contravention of the building plan.

It was also gathered that the building was constructed on a flood plain.

The trapped artisans had yet to be rescued as of 6.45pm when this report was filed.

Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Authority has said the building was erected outside the approved plan given for the construction of a mall on the allocated plot.

It also stated that the structure had already been marked for demolition before it eventually came down around 1am on Monday, adding that three contravention notices were issued to the developer, Messrs Global Success Limited, followed by a ‘stop work order.’

The Managing Director, FHA, Prof. Mohammed Al-Amin, told journalists in Abuja that the authority’s development control team noticed the illegal structure early this year and directed that it be stopped, but its directive was not obeyed by the developer.

He said, “The plot was allocated to the developer by the FHA in 2009 and the plan for the mall was subsequently approved by the authority. Early this year, the authority’s development control personnel noticed that work had commenced on a structure at the back of the mall which was not covered earlier by the approval.”

“Three contravention notices were therefore issued to the developer followed by a stop-work order. In line with the established protocol, a final demolition notice was also issued on the ill-fated structure. The FHA was in consultation with the Development Control Department of the Federal Capital Development Authority for its support in handling the contravention and a follow-up meeting was scheduled for this week before the structure came down.”

Al-Amin stated that the authority worked with other government agencies during the rescue operation and that all the construction workers rescued from the site had been taken to a hospital and were responding to treatment.

He, however, stressed that the FHA had commenced moves to prosecute the developer as stipulated by laws establishing the authority, adding that it would work with other agencies of government as well as professional bodies in perfecting the required penalty against Messrs Global Success Limited.

The building collapsed on 10 contradiction workers on Monday morning. Officials of the FHA, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Julius Berger were among those who responded first at the site of the incident.

It was also gathered that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, would visit the site of the collapse building on Tuesday to get further briefings on incident as investigations continue.

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