Anambra Govt Seals Off Site Of Collapsed 5-Storey Building In Oba, Declares Developer Wanted

Kenechukwu Ofomah

Kenechukwu Ofomah

Anambra State Government on Friday sealed off the site of a five-storey building which collapsed Thursday night at Umuagu, Umogali village, Oba in Idemili South Council Area of the state.

The 5-storey building which is still under construction, was said to have collapsed midnight of yesterday.

When TNC correspondent visited the site this morning, the place had been sealed off.

It was gathered that the building was being constructed by an indigene of Oba who is based abroad, through a local building engineer.

There were however, no evidence of approvals and building permit from the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, ANSPPB, for the structure.

Further findings also revealed that youths of the community have divided the community into parts and assigned commanders who have made it difficult for government officials to carry out any inspection on the buildings being built in the area.

According to officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, who spoke to our correspondent at the scene, no life was lost as a result of the incident.

They however attributed the collapse of the building to use of substandard materials for the construction of the building.

Speaking after he led a taskforce comprising the NEMA, SEMA and the State Physical Planning Board, ANSPPB, to the site, the ANSPPB Chairman, Barr Chike Maduekwe regretted that youths in the area have constituted themselves into some sort of armed group with which they molest state officials who come to enforce building regulations.

“This area is an area we have gangs of armed youths and they don’t allow government officials to work. They terrify our staff and sometimes beat them up.

“Sometimes ago, we organized and arrested some of those people and they gave us an undertaking that those things wouldn’t happen again.

“But what we have found out is that there are some others who have various armies and do these things, the kind of things you hear where there are no governments,” he said.

Maduekwe warned that the time of impunity  and hooliganism are over and the state governor, Chukwuma Soludo is committed to stopping such intimidation of government officials with threat of force.

“Governor Soludo is willing to organize for youths to have proper employment but anybody who feels he can continue to earn a living through touting should have a rethink.

“Enough is enough.

“Anyone we catch doing such thing will be dealt with decisively,” Maduekwe threatened.

But in a reaction, the President of Umuogali village, Dr Kingsley Obasoanya said the collapse was due to the unprofessionalism of the engineer handling the project, noting that the developer could not have approved for any substandard work to be done.

“The owner of this building is based in Spain and the UK and is somebody who likes to do things by the book.

“It is unfortunate that the engineer he gave this project to oversee messed up the entire thing.

“If the developer had known, he would have come to the appropriate government agencies to get the necessary approvals but unfortunately, he is not aware,” Obasoanya lamented.

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