Nyesom Wike, the minister for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has mandated the quick identification and arrest of the owner of the two-story building that fell in Abuja on Wednesday night.
There were at least 39 people living in the building, of which two were confirmed dead, 37 were rescued and sent to different hospitals.
Objectv Media learnt that the victims were taken to various hospitals including the National Hospital, Asokoro, Nyanya, and Garki District Hospitals, Alliance hospital and Zenith hospital.
The building was one of the first multi-story structures in the neighbourhood, and it is located at Lagos Crescent in Garki Village in the capital city’s Garki District.
Rescue efforts were at first quite slow over the course of the night after it collapsed in around 11 p.m. on Wednesday under a heavy downpour because there was no instant access to an excavator and they had to be entirely manual.
Wike remarked that the area’s original population were slated for resettlement while speaking at the scene of the event, but he questioned why the FCT Administration had been unable to implement such a resettlement for years.
“It is unfortunate that we woke up this morning to the very disturbing news of this building collapse,” Wike remarked as he praised the rescue efforts.
“It is not what we had in mind. Let me express my gratitude to the organisations, in particular NEMA and FEMA, who helped us save at least 37 lives. The fact that we lost two lives is regrettable. I’ll make a request of the Permanent Secretary to see to it that money is swiftly raised to cover the hospital costs of those who were saved so that we don’t lose any more people.
“Secondly, these are the things we have been saying, nobody knows whose turn it will be, therefore when government says it will take actions in areas we believe there are illegal developments or buildings that do not comply with the standard codes, it is not as if anybody has any personal vendetta but for me it is for us to do the right thing.
“I don’t know why it has taken so long for the FCTA to relocate them, but we will take immediate measures to ensure that they do, after which the government must plan for this area.
“When the government orders building plans to be taken, it is not so that anyone will suffer but rather so that everyone will be protected. Cities are designed to prevent situations of this nature. Visualise a structure that isn’t approved. I’ll ask that the owner of this property be located and detained. It is really crucial.
“Government will, of course, take over this area and make sure no further development is carried out here. I want all the stakeholders here to please work with government in the interest of everybody. No one has come here to say I like A, I don’t like B.
“I know sometimes government’s decisions may not be too comfortable with the people, but in the long run, it is in the interest of the people. Now we are all gathered here and none of us is happy we are here. These are the things we are trying to forestall. Again I sympathize with those who lost dear lives, while government will pick up the bills of all those in the hospital. We will also support the rescue efforts and ensure that they get to the last level and rescue everyone still trapped in the rubble.”