Bright Chima, believed to be the oldest tenant of the collapsed building at Lagos street in Garki area of Abuja, says she had complained several times to the management of the storey plaza about the structural cracks in the building.
According to Chima, on Wednesday, she was forced to stay in her shop till late in the night because of heavy rainfall.
She said when the rain refused to stop, she called her husband to drive her home to save her from being drenched.
Around 11:30 pm, as Chima and her husband were about to lock up the doors of the shop, they heard a thud with dust covering their faces.
Chima who narrated to The Cable, jumped out, together with her husband, to catch the sight of how the building housing her shop was collapsing.
“I rented two apartment shops here. I am one of the oldest tenants. I have spent more than 13 years. We have complained to the management of this building countless times about structural cracks.
“Their response is always affirmative without actions. They will tell you ‘We will do it’. We have requested many times to see the landlord. They kept on denying us access to him. At times, you will see this compound full of defecation.
“We were about to step out of the shop before we heard the creaky sound of the building caving in on us. We jumped out and looking back, we realised the building had collapsed. I pay N1.5 million per annum for my two shops here and the total worth of goods inside is over N10 million,” she said.
Recall that about 37 persons were rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building while two persons died.
A resident who witnessed the collapse, Godwin Peter, said as it was raining, the building was shaking when the breeze became stronger.
Peter said the building caved in after it could not withstand the breeze any longer.
He added that prior to the incident, the building — arguably one of the oldest on the street — had shown obvious weakness with structural cracks.
“There were signs and it was obvious that the building was weak. There was a heavy rainfall with a strong breeze. The building is a residential apartment as well as a shopping complex. It was shaking and people were coming out,” Peter said.