Two people are currently trapped under the rubble of a three storey building believed to be a shopping mall under reconstruction, near Aso savings in Kubwa a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja which collapsed overnight.
The incident which happened around 11:25 p.m. on Thursday was believed to have been caused by changes to the construction plan.
It was discovered that the owner of the building converted the second floor into a residential apartment with three and two bedrooms respectively while the ground floor was used for shops.
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
According to Manzo Ezekiel, the spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the agency was alerted to the incident around 1am this morning and the head of NEMA’s operations office in Abuja immediately mobilized first responders, including the FCT emergency management agency, firefighters. , Civil Defense (NSCDC) and the Nigerian Police at the site.
He confirmed that four people had been rescued so far. While two other people are still trapped under the rubble.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Emmanuel Umeke, who lives very close to the scene of the incident, explained that the building collapsed around 11:25 p.m. Thursday evening.
“Last night around 11:25 p.m., we heard a very loud noise shaking the whole place, I thought it was an earthquake, I thought my house was going to collapse, I opened my window and I saw dust everywhere.
“I went out with my family and saw that the building had collapsed, I told my wife that I was not surprised that the building collapsed, because the building was supposed to be a shopping center , i started to see blocks coming in, i walked in and saw that they have converted the second and third floors into three and two bedroom apartments for residential apartments.
“The pillar I saw there, I knew it couldn’t handle the tiles and blocks they were carrying around the building, I told my wife and my neighbor to be careful around the building.” He stated.
Another eyewitness, Obus Chibuike, said they were inside their house which is adjacent to the collapsed building when they heard the loud noise that brought down their fence.
“We rushed outside on hearing the noise and saw that the building near us had collapsed and our fence had also collapsed, with blocks hitting our cars which were parked near the fence.
“We did what we could to save people and three of those inside escaped, while we were able to save one person from the building this morning.” He stated.
Meanwhile, FCT Department Director for Development Control Mukthar Galadima, who was at the scene of the incident, said it happened minutes before midnight on Thursday.
According to him, preliminary reports had shown that the building was in a swampy area and that the right materials had not been used in the construction.
At the time of writing, rescue operations were still ongoing while there was also a heavy presence of security personnel on the ground.
Efforts to contact the owner of the building were unsuccessful.