Awka – Anambra State Government on Thursday, sealed off a two-storey building used as a residential house and shop which collapsed at Amawbia close to Anambra State Capital City, Awka.
The collapse had happened at about eleven o’clock Wednesday night following a heavy downpour.
When TNC correspondent visited the scene of the incident yesterday, officials of the development control agency in the state capital, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, ACTDA, were on ground, assessing the situation.
Speaking shortly after sealing off the premises today, the Managing Director, ACTDA, Venerable Amaechi Okwuosa explained that though the owner may have gotten approval more than fifteen years ago, the structure was substandard and did not meet the building standards .
He revealed that despite efforts by the agency to make the owner to stop work, he went ahead to build at night with substandard materials which led to the total collapse.
“It’s an unfortunate incident, the owner of the building was building with unapproved materials. My staff noted the irregularities and served them papers to stop work, but he went ahead to build at night,” he revealed.
Okwuosa called on developers within the State Capital Territory to always get the necessary approvals from the agency before embarking on structural development, warning that any structure that is not approved will be pulled down.
The ACTDA Managing Director announced that the owner of the collapsed structure, will forfeit the land in line with the existing law in Anambra state which provides that for any building that collapses, the developer will lose the land to government.
Narrating how the incident happened to TNC correspondent, an eye witness and victim, Mr Augustine Ikeji said it was raining when thunder struck and the building collapsed.
According to him, the debris fell on him and four of his children who were sleeping in the room close to the collapsed portion, destroying his wares as well as inflicting degrees of injuries on the children who were later rushed to the hospital.
“I am a tenant here and we were sleeping when thunder struck and the building collapsed on top of me, my wife and children. It destroyed my property and injured my children. I need government to come and help me,” he pleaded.
Ikeji revealed that he had already paid rent and moved into the building before he got information that the building was done with substandard materials.
In his words, “We were already occupying the building before the people started telling me that the owner built the structure by himself without any support from professionals. At that point, I didn’t know what to do again as I had already moved in.”