Tragedy struck earlier today as a building under construction in Akure, Ondo State capital collapsed killing two people and injuring two others.
According to people who witnessed the collapse, it happened at 7:00 am when workers were just arriving at the building site to begin their work day. Two workers were killed outright – one a teenage boy called Segun – an apprentice – who was trapped under the rubble and another teenager. Two injured men were rushed to a hospital.
Olanrawanju Moses, a worker at the site said he heard a loud sound “gbam” and saw immediately saw rubble.
“Some of my co-workers who arrived behind me were also surprised and we did not know that people were already at the site before us.‘
Sounds from the collapse attracted crowds to the area. The incident happened along Ado-Akure road, two kilometers away from a populated motor park belonging to the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state.
Two of floors of the multi-story building were complete and work had begun on the third before it collapsed. The building was supposed to be a private boarding school intended to house thousands of students.
Iyiola Akande, South West Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) said the incident is a disaster, “… the equipment used at this construction site is totally bad and not good enough. We should ensure adequate monitoring of workers, contractors and builders and there should be competent engineers that would monitored the process of construction from the beginning to the end.“
But he added, “We do not have the capacity for enforcement but we are working with other government agencies to ensure we respond to disasters timely when they occur.”
People familiar with the area told our reporters the land where the building was being constructed is swampy, and its foundations were not properly sand filled before construction began.
Observers said the catastrophe could have been bigger as it could have collapsed when it was completed and occupied by students.
The Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Bade Omoloja said, “This is a total calamity due to the loss of life. This building had no approval to begin with because our men at the task force unit of the ministry have been here on two different occasions to stop work. Obviously, very poor quality of work was carried out at the site. There are so many building outside here that doesn’t have approvals.“
He added the state government will immediately order the construction engineers to stop work at the site until an investigation into the causes of the collapse takes place.
Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force spokesman, Wole Ogodo said police officers maintained peace and order at the collapse site but the incident comes when the State is reeling over news of the recent kidnappings.
Officials of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), the men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Red Cross Society of Nigeria, men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), State Security Services (SS) and other rescue agencies were all at the site to help with the rescue.