A three-storey building has collapsed in Calabar, Cross River State capital leaving many in fear.
CONVERSEER gathered that the tragic incident occurred on Saturday (April 29) afternoon at Muri Nta Eke (former Bassey Offiong) street, off Ikot Eyo, Calabar Municipal Local Government Area of the state.
According to Hon. Eric Anderson, Commissioner for Information and Orientation in Cross River State, 13 persons were supposed to be working on the building but only 10 were on site when the building collapsed.
Anderson added that a boy was seen before the building collapsed after which no one knows what must have happened to him as a rescue team is still searching for any life entrapped inside the remains.
“The people originally working at the site were 13 but 3 of them took a break before the incident, so only 10 were on the ground when the building collapsed.
“We can account for the 10 persons but the security guard told us that a boy was seen at the site seconds before the collapse”, Anderson said.
The Info Commissioner claimed that the contractors used substandard materials on the building.
He said the collapsed building owner is on the run and has refused to answer to calls.
“So, we are here with our equipment to make sure we get to the bottom of the rubble. It is obvious that the contractor who happens to be the owner of the structure was also the site engineer and building engineer and all.
“He is a known person, he owns a hotel (name withheld ) at Nsemo Street in Calabar. I have contacted him severally but he has refused to take his calls.
“From what we have seen so far at the site of the incident, it is obvious he used substandard materials for the project. The mixtures, the blocks, the iron rods used were all substandard”, he said.
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Anderson further disclosed that the owner of the building was warned four months ago to stop work but did not adhere to the authorities.
“I am also aware that the Ministry of Urban Planning and Development had written to him four months ago to stop building but he has been evasive. With this, his details will definitely be made available to security agencies for due process.
“We are trying to get to the bottom of the rubble to make sure the boy is found, until then, we will remain at the site. We are also using this opportunity to let other illegal builders know that it is no longer business as usual.
“We know it takes a rigorous process to get demolition approvals but we will take such stance to the next level and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again in Calabar and Cross River as a whole,” Anderson warned.
CONVERSEER further learned that Hon. Stanley Nsemo, Member-elect, Calabar Municipality State Constituency was on site with an excavator and relief materials, while collaborating with the State Ministry of Health to provide an ambulance to convey survivors to the hospital.
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