By Abasi Ita, Calabar
Rescue efforts have been intensified in search of a teenage boy said to have been trapped under the rubble of a Two-Storey building, which collapsed yesterday night along Nta Eke Street, off Effio Ette Roundabout in Calabar, Cross River State Capital City.
Eye witness account narrated that the building came down crumbling as workers were rounding up decking of the second floor in the late evening yesterday.
According to findings, 13 workers were on site mixing and pouring the concrete mixture in the process of decking the second floor. Shortly before the structure came crumbling down, three workers went out to get food but unfortunately, a male teenager was spotted on the first floor resting from hawking some wares.
A civil engineer, who resides in the area, Michael Idorenyen expressed dismay over the tragedy, noting that the calamity would have been averted, if due diligence and standard procedures in building construction were strictly adhered to by the property developer.
In his words “the developer of the property opted to usurp the offices of the architect, site engineer and supervisor. I once approach him and raised some concerns on the quality of blocks, concrete mixture and the rod used in erecting the pillars including the size of the rod for boarding the second floor before they started decking, I was ignored.
Even the government agency concerned wrote instructing him to suspend construction work after observing some glaring irregularities, but the man was adamant”.
Addressing newsmen at the site of the tragedy, Cross Rover State Commissioner of Information, Eric Anderson posited that the saddening episode could have been avoided if global best practices obtainable in the construction industry were upheld by the property developer”.
“It is unfortunate that even when Ministry of Urban Planning and Development instructed that construction works should be stopped over four months ago, the developer was adamant”.
” He is a known fellow who owns some hotels in town, we shall invite him for necessary action. Our priority now is to step up rescue aimed at ensuring that no life is lost under concrete debris”.
He stressed further “we are trying our utmost best to get to the bottom of the rubble in a bid to ensure that the boy is found alive. Until then, we will remain at the site.
On the quacks in the building industry, government will go extra mile in invoking relevant laws to check their menace by prosecuting defaulters, who are perpetually poised to cutting corners to maximise profits at the expense of human lives’.