About nine persons have been rescued while one is still trapped in a three-torey building which collapsed at Gwarinpa, Abuja, yesterday.
The said building is being developed as an annex to a shopping mall and entertainment centre along 444 Crescent, Wupa District in Gwarinpa.
LEADERSHIP gathered that, the building, Haastrup Mall and Entertainment centre is developed by Global Success Resources Limited on a plot belonging to Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and is purportedly owned by a former governor of Ogun State.
The victims were said to be construction workers while the site has been sealed off for further investigation into the immediate and remote cause of the collapse.
Briefing newsmen, the Managing Director of FHA, Prof Mohammed Al-Amin who confirmed the incident said out of ten persons involved in the incident, nine persons have been rescued while one is still trapped.
He noted that efforts are made to rescue the trapped victim alive adding that the rescued victims have been taken to the hospital and are responding to treatment.
Al-Amin noted that, the building sitting on two and half hectares of land was allocated to the developer by FHA in 2009 and the plan for the construction of mall was also approved by the authority.
According to him,” Six months ago, engineers from the Authority noticed construction of another structure outside the approved plan and had to issue contravention notice.
He added that, three contravention notices were issued to the developer followed by a stop work order and finally demolition notice was also issued in line with the established protocol.
Al-Amin disclosed that, when the Authority visited Gwarinpa on June for demolition,they could not carry out the exercise due to insecurity.
The MD also emphasised that, the Authority was in consultation with the Development Control Department of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council for its support in handling the contravention.
He maintained that a follow-up meeting was scheduled for this week before the building collapsed.
“Since our forty years of existence, we have never encountered this magnitude of collapse and we have deployed team of experts comprising of engineers, architects and surveyors to study the situation and find out where the problems started.’’ He stated.
While sympathising with victims, he assured that the developer would face serious punitive measures as contained in the building code.
Recall that a building had earlier collapsed in Apo Mechanic Village Abuja on 24th August though not owned by Federal Housing Authority (FHA).
Speaking on the incident, the director general, FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Alhaji Abbas Idriss, expressed his dismay and shock at the flagrant disregard for laid down rules in the built despite the effort of The Federal Capital Territory Administration to sanitise the sector.