A 7-storey building located at Musa Yaradua drive,New Owerri yesterday collapsed,killing scores of persons said to be mainly labourers and engineers who were in the uncompleted building.
An eye witness account who simply introduced himself as Mr Tony, a resident of the area said that at about 6pm when people were rushing to beat the curfew currently imposed by the government of Imo state, yesterday they heard a devastating sound and got frightened by that but on coming out from his house which he said is two poles away from the scene of the incident,he discovered that the building which was under construction had collapsed.
Our reporter who visited the scene saw two ambulances and team of health workers,top Imo State government officials led by the Chief of staff,Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie and observers struggling to rescue the victims who were trapped in the building.He also saw a lifeless body of a middle aged man in front of the building.
At the time of filing this report,a total of 7 persons were rescued alive,though not without injuries while one was confirmed dead.Five out of those rescued were said to be those at the ground floor of the building before it collapsed.
It was gathered that the building if completed would have housed a 5 star hotel, owned by the elder brother of Chief Executive officer of Desmond Oil who they said is based in France but has so many business concerns in Owerri and beyond.
One of the rescued victims who spoke to this reporter at the scene said that they were more than 50 working in the building and because of the curfew,they were advised to sleep there to avoid police harassment.He further stated that earlier in the day,they had noticed a sharp crack on the edge of the building.When they reported to the Engineer of the defect,he said they should continue,asserting that there was no cause for alarm.
Further investigation indicates that the said hotel building was originally supposed to be a five storey building before it was onverted to 8-storey building.