Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, has ordered the immediate identification and arrest of the owner of a two-story building that fell in Abuja on Wednesday night.
The building housed at least 39 people, with two confirmed deceased and 37 rescued and transported to separate hospitals.
The structure, located at Lagos Crescent, Garki Village in the nation’s capital’s Garki District, was one of the first storey buildings in the neighborhood, according to Vanguard.
While it caved in at 11 p.m. on Wednesday under heavy rain, rescue activities were initially slow over the night due to a lack of rapid access to an excavator and rescue efforts were mainly manual.
The demolished structure
Speaking at the site, Wike highlighted that the original people of the region were earmarked for resettlement, but questioned why the FCT Administration had been unable to carry out such resettlement for years.
“It is unfortunate that we woke this morning to the very disturbing news of this building collapse,” Wike remarked, while applauding the rescue efforts. It is not what we had in mind. Let me appreciate the agencies, particularly NEMA and FEMA, for their assistance in saving at least 37 lives. We were unfortunate to lose two lives. I will request that the Permanent Secretary ensure that money are collected to cover the hospital costs of those who were rescued as soon as possible so that we do not lose any more people.
“Secondly, as we have been saying, nobody knows whose turn it will be, so when the government says it will take action in areas where we believe there are illegal developments or buildings that do not comply with the standard codes, it is not as if anyone has a personal vendetta, but it is for me to do the right thing.”
“I’m not sure why it has taken so long for the FCTA to resettle them, but we will take immediate action to ensure that the indigenes of these places are resettled, and then the government will have to plan out this place.”
“When the government says take building plans, it is not to harm anyone, but to ensure that everyone is safe.” Cities are being designed to prevent such catastrophes. Consider a structure without approval. I will request that the owner of this property be identified and arrested. It is quite significant.
“Of course, the government will take over this area and ensure that no further development takes place here.” I’d want to ask everyone here to please cooperate with the government in the best interests of everyone. Nobody has come to say, “I like A, I don’t like B.” I understand that government policies may not always be popular, but in the long run, they are in the best interests of the people. We’ve all gathered here, and none of us are delighted to be here. These are the things we are attempting to avoid. I once again express my condolences to those who have lost their lives, while the government will cover all hospital expenditures. We will also assist in the rescue efforts, ensuring that they reach the final level and rescue everyone who is still trapped under the rubble.”
Dr. Abbas Idriss, Director General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, stated 37 people were rescued at the scene of the fallen structure.
According to him, the victims were airlifted to various medical facilities in Abuja.
“Thirty-seven people have been rescued and evacuated to hospitals so far, with others reportedly still trapped.” A rescue squad and others are on the scene. Rescue activities are continuing, although at a slower pace due to the persistent rain.” “They are working feverishly to get an excavator to remove people from the rubble,” he continued.
The DG praised the efforts of all parties who worked tirelessly to manually rescue stranded people, including members of the community.
The victims were reportedly transferred to a number of hospitals, including the National Hospital, Asokoro, Nyanya, and Garki District Hospitals, Alliance Hospital, and Zenith Hospital.
Mukhtar Galadima, Director of Development Control, also spoke, explaining that the building has no planning permit because the region is designated for relocation.
“The structure is situated within the Garki indigenous settlement.” The structure had two suspended storeys, one for business activity and the other for residential accommodation. Yesterday (Wednesday), the structure crashed in, rescuing 37 people.
“Because the location is not a planned area, the development received no planning approval.” In fact, the land from here to Apo resettlement town is designated for relocation.”