‘ Return or face arrest’- Govt Warns Landlord of partially collapsed building In Abakaliki

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By Nwogha Ndubuisi, Abakaliki

The Ebonyi State Government has taken decisive action in response to a partial 3-storey building collapse incident that occurred on Friday Night, 18th August,2023 in Abakaliki, the state capital.

i-Turning Point gathered that on the wee hour of Friday 18th August, occupants of No. 65 Ogbaga road, Abakaliki were forced to evacuate their flats due to the structural damage experienced by the 3 storey building situated along the Nwofe-Rounda road.

Following the development, the Commissioner for Capital City Development, Religion, and Planning, Hon. Inyima Elechi Sunday, has issued a stern 7-day ultimatum to the owner of the building to return to the State and address the issue, as failure to comply with the period would result in the owner’s arrest.

Hon. Inyima conveyed the government’s position and expressed relief that no lives were lost due to the unfortunate incident. Holding the engineers accountable for the partial collapse, the commissioner emphasized, “Upon firsthand assessment, it is evident that the engineer responsible for the construction bears full responsibility for this situation.”

The commissioner further highlighted that the engineer is currently evading authorities, while the landlord has not cooperated with the government’s inquiries.

“The engineer is on the run, the landlord is not coming, I’m giving him Friday this week, I have told the police to begin from Saturday, 19th August to look for the engineer of the house, the caretaker of the building has lodged a formal complaint with the police division at Kpirikpiri.

” My concern extends beyond sealing the compromised structure; I aim to ascertain the timing of the building’s approval, the parties responsible for granting it, and the officials who inspected it before approval was granted.”

The commissioner strongly condemned the incident, regarding it as a wakeup call for both the government and landlords to take proactive measures in preventing building collapses.

However, residents attributed the incident to the engineer’s use of substandard materials and failure to adhere to proper construction guidelines.

One of the occupants, Miss Nwani Deborah from Ohazara, shared a harrowing account of the incident.

She recalled that the ordeal began on the previous Friday night when the caretaker heard alarming cracking sounds and sand particles fell from the ceiling. This prompted an urgent evacuation due to the imminent risk of the building collapsing.

Nwani Deborah recounted her experience, saying, “As we were wrapping up for the day, we started hearing unusual noises from the compound. The caretaker raised an alarm, instructing everyone to evacuate.

“When my sisters and I descended, we witnessed the building breaking apart. With the rain starting, the entire structure trembled, but fortunately, it did not collapse. Fearful of the worst, we didn’t dare to stay within the compound that night; we found shelter outside.

“Thankfully, we managed to seek refuge in our shop. By Saturday morning, the anxiety was overwhelming, making it impossible for anyone to stay there.” she narrated

The Nwani’s family and other inhabitants of the 16-bedroom flat apartment now face dire circumstances, having recently renewed their rental agreement for the year. They are currently taking shelter in an uncompleted building that is unsuitable for habitation.

Nwani appealed to the State government and good spirited individuals for assistance, hoping for a resolution to their plight as some of their valuables including filled gas cylinder have been carted away in an uncompleted building where they’re taking refuge.