By Maduka Nweke

Former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has expressed sadness over the loss of lives in the recent building collapse at Ochanja market in Onitsha. Obi, while urging the public to adhere strictly to building standards, said that no acquisition of property can equal the lives lost in acquiring the property.

In a statement by his media assistant, Valentine Obienyem, Obi lamented the loss of lives, saying the victims are individuals striving to make ends meet.

While expressing gratitude to those involved in rescuing trapped victims, Obi called on the government to investigate the cause of the collapse. He advised strict compliance with regulations governing the building and construction industry.

“I firmly believe that building collapses will be a thing of the past if we adhere to standards and procedures put out by regulators. Only trained, licensed and professional personnel should handle building projects, and materials must meet project specifications,” Obi stated.

Obi, who is also the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 election, also urged the government to implement measures to ensure that building projects nationwide meet required standards.

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He extended condolences to families who lost loved ones and offered prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured and eternal rest for the deceased.

In the same vein, a former state legsilator, Mr. Anthony Okafor, noted that the loss of lives have become commonplace in Nigeria.

He said: “I don’t know whether government is still taking care of lives that people will just go out of the way to flout rules and codes guiding building industry.

“Government should make laws guiding construction industry to be stricter because the sector is highly volatile with a lot of things that can either injure or kill somebody. If two or three defaulters are punished severely, then others will take note.”

A property developer, Mr. Mike Ekwemalor, noted that the scenario of building collapse in creeping fast in the state. According to him, “We used to hear of building collapse happening in Lagos, Abuja because there are high rise buildings in the areas. But when buildings start to collapse in Onitsha and other zonal cities in Anambra State, then government should raise the bar of regulation.

“We cannot withstand building collapse in Anambra because we live closely. You can see that the building that collapse in Onitsha affected other buildings around it. That is the same way it will affect so many lives around it. I seriously support the call for investigation by Mr. Peter Obi because that is the only way the culprits will be unearthed.”