The building which used to accommodate over 50 artisans from various walks of life is located at3 Ademola Adesuga streetin Dutse Alhaji,Abuja. The building was said to have been abandoned for many years before it collapsed between 3.30am to 4p.m yesterday.
Mr Ahmed Tijani, a resident of the area confirmed that the building was occupied by more than 50 artisans such as motorcyclists, water vendors, and refuse disposal boys a.k.a ‘Boula boula.’
Tijani explained that many of the occupants quickly ran for their lives as soon as they heard the cracking of the building before it eventually collapsed.
Three of them were, however, unlucky as they were trapped and killed while nine others sustained injury as they tried to escape.
The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Public Relations Officer, Mr Yushau Shuaib, confirmed the incident and the deaths.
NEMA had reported the recovery of two bodies at the beginning of the rescue operations, but a third body was recovered and confirmed dead by rescue operatives as at the time Vanguard visited the scene.
The agency said nine persons, who were critically injured were receiving treatment at theGarki GeneralHospital, in theFederalCapitalTerritory, FCT.
The Chairman of the Bwari Area Council, Mr Peter Yohanna, said the building located at Ademola Adesuga Road, had been abandoned for many years by its owner after it failed an integrity test for approval.
Yohanna said N200,000 has been approved by the council for immediate treatment of wounded victims.
Mr John Efere, Chief Superintendent Officer, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in the Bwari Area Council, said rescue operation was still on-going for people still suspected to be trapped in the building.
COREN to sanction culpable engineers
Also commenting on the incident, Mr Mayas Adoyi, Director of Engineering, Council for the Regulation of Engineering inNigeria, COREN, said investigations into the cause of the collapse would be conducted.
Adoyi said engineers implicated in the construction of the building would be sanctioned appropriately.
Communal clash claims 12 lives in Benue
Meanwhile, no fewer than 12 persons were feared dead with property worth millions of Naira destroyed in an outbreak of communal crisis between inhabitants of Ojantele and Ijegwu communities in Otukpo and Obi local government areas ofBenueState.
Vanguard gathered from an eyewitness that fighting erupted between the bordering communities on Tuesday following renewed dispute over a piece of land adjoining the warring neighbours.
120,000 people displaced
According to our source, houses, huts and economic trees were not spared by the warring communities leading to the displacement of close to 120, 000 inhabitants of the affected communities’ who are fleeing from the crisis.
It was also gathered that among those who lost loved ones in the conflict was the Benue State Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia, whose cousins were reportedly slaughtered in the fighting.
Benue Assembly sues for peace
Reacting to the renewed conflict at its sitting yesterday, the Benue State House of Assembly, in a motion called on the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Christopher Katso to dispatch officers and men to the crisis zone in order to restore law and order in the communities.
Raising an issue of urgent importance at the floor of the House yesterday, Mr. Baba Ode, representing Otukpo/Akpa constituency, told the House that he received a phone call from an anonymous caller, intimating him that fighting had erupted between his constituents and the neighbouring Ijegwu community in Obi local government area.
Ode explained that thereafter he further received text messages from relations, who informed him of the escalation of the crisis, leading to the death of his close associates and friends, adding that as at Tuesday, not less than six deaths had been recorded in the crisis.
Ode lamented that the brotherly communities had in the last 10 years intermittently engaged each other in fracas despite efforts to find lasting solution to the dispute.
He said: “The problem we have in this country is that whenever there is a crisis anywhere and peace is restored, everyone goes home with no efforts put in to ensure that permanent peace is restored in the affected area. That is exactly the situation we have found ourselves in this particular case”.
The lawmaker urged the House to compel the Surveyor General of the state to carry out a proper demarcation of the boundaries of the affected communities as a remedy.
In his contribution, Mr. Nick Eworo representing Obi constituency, called on the state government to dust up the report of the panel of enquiry set up in 1996 to investigate the crisis with a view to finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
When contacted, the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Daniel Ezeala said he was yet to be briefed on the crisis.
Five students perish in auto crash in Kano
In another development, an auto crash withinKanometropolis yesterday claimed the lives of five secondary school students.
The victims identified as Ibrahim Mohammed, 18 years old, Musa Sule, 17, Musa Mohammed, 16, Zakari Adamu 15 and Ismail Mohammed, 12 all died instantly when their Peugeot 406 crashed along the Eastern bye-pass by Dan Hassan junction.
Ibrahim Mohammed was identified as the driver of the ill-fated vehicle and was said to have lost control somewhere along the strategic Eastern bye-pass while heading towards Hotoro quarters.
An eyewitness told Vanguard that the car somersaulted severally and veered off into a ditch, adding that “rescue effort by good Samaritan was not successful as they were found dead in the ditch.”
Vanguard learnt that three of the five victims were children of a Jigawa-based medical doctor while the other two were kids of his friend and next door neighbour in Dakata quarters,Kano.
Confirming the tragic incident to newsmen, the Police Public Relation officer, Kano Command, DSP Rilwanu Muhammad Dutse said “the victims are all secondary school students”.
The Kano police image maker explained that, ‘the ill fated vehicle was coming from Naibawa, heading towards Hotoro quarters, when the driver lost control and the car somersaulted several times on the road, as a result Ibrahim Mohammed, Musa Sule, Musa Mohammed, Zakari Adamu and Ismail Mohammed all of Dakata quarters sustained severe injuries and were confirmed dead at the Muritala Mohammed Specialist Hospital.
The victims were all buried at Dakata cemetery in the municipality according to Islamic rites.
By ABDULSALAM MUHAMMED, FAVOUR NNABUGWU & PETER DURU