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Collapsed building kills father, two children in Imo

  • Owner slumps, hospitalised

From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri

Tragedy struck the sleepy Oguide Oforola community in Owerri West Council Area of Imo State, when a storey building still under construction collapsed in the early hours of yesterday and killed three of occupants, namely Marcellinus Okpomeshina, and his two children, Believe and Vivian.

This was just as the owner of the collapsed building, who is an indigene of the community, was said to have slumped when he arrived at the scene. He was rushed to an undisclosed hospital to be revived.

According to the surviving daughter of Marcellinus Concilia, their mother, Felicia, was rescued from the rubble in an unconscious state and taken to the hospital immediately. She had returned from a vigil held by her church before the tragic incident happened.

Concillia said:  ‘’I was in my maternal home in Umuatu, Oforola, when I was told about this. It happened between 4 and 4.30am. When I rushed to this place, I gathered that my farther, my younger siblings, Believe, a boy aged 12 years and Vivian were trapped. My mum survived after she was brought out and taken to a nearby hospital, though unconscious. My father and Vivian are still trapped.’’

Sunday Sun reliably gathered from sources in the community that Marcellinus, a native of Enyiogugu in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area, who died with two of his children, a boy and a girl had earlier contacted the owner of the building, Engr. Chinonso Ewelusu popularly known as “Bush” that the storey building which was still under construction was making creaky noises. About 3am yesterday the owner promptly arrived the site and told Marcellinus and his family to immediately vacate from the building and thereafter he left.

However, it was further gathered that Marcellinus, a firewood seller had first removed his motorcycle and had gone back inside to bring out a bag containing about N70,000 while his two children, a boy and a girl, were still sleeping when the house collapsed on them.

An indigene of the community, Malachy Mahara corroborated what the source said. The Eze-elect of the community, Alex Uchennamadu, the regent, Obichere, the Government Liaison Officer, Nwankwo Ajare, told Sunday Sun that they received the information early and began to make contacts.

Uchennamadu said he informed officials of the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA, adding that they were coming with necessary equipment to excavate the rubble. He said that the manual process adopted by the community, in absence of appropriate equipment, had hampered the rescue effort.

The Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations), Government House, Kingsley Uju, who was present at the scene regretted the incident and cautioned against the use of substandard materials, stressing that the state government would take the issue serious. Those who visited the scene of the incident included the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Abdullahi Kurawa, the Regent of the area, Prince Austin Obichere; the Eze-Elect of the ancient kingdom, Alex Uchennamadu; the Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations), Government House, Kingsley Uju, an engineer; a community leader in the community, Eleaza Ajare; the Government Liaison Officer (GLO) of the community, Dr. Victor Nwankwo; the Secretary of the community, amongst others.

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Editor, Online: Ikenna Emewu
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