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Labourer cheats death, narrates how building collapsed in Ebonyi

A menial labourer, Nkwegu Shadrach, has narrated how he escaped death during the building collapsed that occured on Tuesday evening in Abakaliki metropolis.

The three-storey building owned by the member representing Afikpo North East State Constituency in the state House of Assembly, Ukie Ezeali collapsed to the foundation level.

The building which shared a common boundary with Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, (AE-FUTHA) 1, Ebonyi State, collapsed when some construction workers were working inside it.

Two workers, a mason man Celestine Arua and a deaf and dumb labourer Egwu Ogbonna were trapped inside the building and were rescued after some hours through a rescue operation led by officials of the state Ministry of Capital Territory, Ministry of Works and security agencies.

They are currently hospitalized at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the AE-FUTHA 2 and were responding to treatment as at Wednesday afternoon when Blueprint visited them.

Nkwegu said he was trying to carry a mixed concrete to meet the two workers inside the building when it collapsed.

“I was there when the thing happened. It was the last bucket of mixed concrete that I was trying to carry and I turned back I saw the building had collapsed.

“I was not affected but two persons were affected, the mason man and another worker who is deaf and dumb.

“It was only the mason man and the deaf and dumb worker that were inside the building when it collapsed. I was outside the building trying to carry mixed concrete to meet the mason man when the building collapsed”, he stated.

Meanwhile, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria has described the incident as a very big disaster.

The council alleged that the materials used for the building were substandard and wondered why people erecting structures should not comply to building guidelines.

Zonal Coordinator of the council, Nwekete Chinasa Jonathan while speaking to Journalists at the scene, also alleged that mixtures of materials for the building were not good in addition to the poor workmanship.

“We have experienced poor workmanship here and some of the materials were not standard, substandard materials were used, the mixture was not too wonderful”, he stated.

The state Commissioner for Capital Territory, Sunday Inyima, corroborated the council.

He disclosed that two persons have been arrested over the incident.

“Two arrest have been made, people who are directly or indirectly attached to the building and that is the truth. We have actually told the owner of the building to please make himself available for explanation.

“The police is already investigating the matter while professional bodies are also investigating the incident” Inyima said.

He regretted that despite the appeal to the owner of the building not to erect such structure which he said was not good for the space it was being erected, the lawmaker went ahead to erect the building.

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