Fred Itua, Abuja
The death toll from the collapsed building in Jabi District of Abuja, yesterday, rose to three, following the recovery of one body during resumed rescue operations ordered by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello.
The minister “directing the rescue team back to site was as a result of strong concerns that there could still be people under the rubbles.”
In yesterday’s operation, the body of Sadiq Aliu was discovered. The corpse was to be evacuated to the morgue, when the victim’s relatives insisted on proceeding to the cemetery for his burial, in accordance with Islamic rites.
The other two fatalities, Bashiru Mohammed, the site’s foreman and another young man yet to be identified, were also buried last Friday, after they had been confirmed dead.
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The site engineer, Friday Alu, is said to be on intensive care at the Cedarcrest Hospital, Apo. However, officials of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were not allowed access to him. The other four were reported to have sustained minor injuries and had left Gwarimpa Hospital, where they were taken to by relatives and friends after an initial treatment. The affected persons were mostly personnel working on the building site at the time of the incident.
FCT minister, while commiserating with the families of the deceased, emphasised the need for a thorough clearance of the entire rubbles, to ensure that no other body was trapped beneath the debris. On arrangements made for the treatment of the injured, the Acting Deputy Director and Head, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation of the Agency, Mrs. Florence Wenegieme, said the agency had designated three hospitals for emergency treatments. They are Wuse, Asokoro and Maitama general hospitals.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was then the acting president, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, were escorted to the site of the incidents by the FCT minister. The minister, however, was among the early callers on the site of the collapsed building.
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The uncompleted four-storey building complex near the Jabi Motor Park had collapsed on Friday, last week, prompting an immediate and comprehensive mobilisation of men and machines to the site of the disaster by both federal and FCT emergency agencies. More than seven earth-moving machines had been engaged in the operations, including support equipment from Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
Coordinator of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shuaibu, said investigations had commenced to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the building collapse.