THE Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike has, ordered the arrest of the owner of the two-storey building that collapsed on Wednesday night at Lagos Street, Garki Village, Abuja.
The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FCT FEMA) said in a statement that two victims have died, while 37 others were evacuated and taken to the hospital.
Wike, who gave the order when he visited the scene of the incident on Thursday, also asked the Permanent Secretary, FCT Administration, Mr Adesola Olusade, to pay the medical bills of those hospitalised.
The minister also urged the Department of Development Control, FCTA, to urgently resettle the residents of the community.
He urged stakeholders to work with government officials for the interest of everyone.
“This is what we are talking about; people just built houses without due diligence to minimum standards.
“This is why cities are planned – to forestall this kind of incidents. I sympathise with those who lost their lives while the medical bills of those in the hospitals will be paid immediately,” he said.
Earlier, the Director, Development Control, Mr Mukhtar Galadima, had explained that the area was unplanned and houses an indigenous community.
Galadima said that the two-storey building was multipurpose and was for both residential and commercial use.
The permanent secretary commended security agencies and some contractors who came out in their numbers to render support in evacuating the rubbles and search for more victims.
Also, the Director-General, FCT FEMA, Dr Idriss Abass, said that relevant agencies had been on ground since the occurrence of the incident, to rescue the victims.
Abass said that efforts were still ongoing “to ensure that no one is left under the rubbles”.
Meanwhile, some of the victims, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that they lost their investments and properties to the incident, and called for government support.
One of them, Ms Glory Perekeme, who operates a restaurant and a bar at the building, said she lost about N5 million as she could not take anything from her restaurant.
“I closed for business around 10:00 p.m. and was on my way home when I received a call that the building had collapsed and my investment gone.
“I am still in shock; and I don’t even know where to start from.
“I really need assistance. Government should come to our aid so we can start all over again,” she said.
Another victim, Mrs Ann Anyi, who owned a laundry and sells shoes, said that she lost everything to the incident.
“I have been crying since I got the news of the incident in the midnight I am just hoping that when the rescue operation is over, I will be able to salvage something from the rubbles,” she said. (NAN)