Following an on-the-spot assessment of the site of the building collapse on Thursday along Lagos Crescent in Garki II district of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike has ordered the immediate arrest of the landlord of the two-storey building.
He also ordered that the indigenes of the area be resettled and then the government has to plan better to forestall such occurrences in future.
According to him: ”It is not as if anybody has any personal vendetta but for me it is for us to do the right thing. I don’t know why it has taken so long that the FCTA has not resettled them and so we will take immediate action to see that the indigenes of these places are resettled and then the government has to plan out this place.
“When government says take a building plan, it is not to suffer anybody but to make sure that everyone is protected. Cities are planned to forestall these kinds of occurrences. Imagine buildings without approval. I will ask that we must identify and arrest the owner of this property. It is very important.
“Government will of course take over this area and make sure no further development is carried out here. I want all the stakeholders here to please work with the government in the interest of everybody. No one has come here to say I like A, I don’t like B. I know sometimes government decisions may not be too comfortable with the people, but in the long run it is in the interest of the people”, he said.
Wike, however, applauded the ongoing rescue efforts, saying, “it’s unfortunate that we woke this morning to the very disturbing news of this building collapse. It is not what we contemplated. Let me thank the agencies particularly NEMA and FEMA that have supported us to rescue not less than 37 lives. It’s unfortunate that we lost two lives”.
He appealed to the Permanent Secretary to make sure that funds are raised to pay the hospital bills of those who were rescued so that we don’t lose any more live, and this should be done immediately.
“These are the things we have been saying, nobody knows whose turn it will be, therefore, when government says it will take actions in areas we believe there are illegal developments or buildings that don’t comply with the standard codes.
“Now we are all gathered here and none of us is happy we are here, these are the things we are trying to forestall. Again I sympathise with those who lost their lives, the government will pick up the bills of all those in the hospital. We will also support the rescue efforts and ensure that they get to the last level and rescue everyone still trapped in the rubble”, he added.
Also, Director, Department of Development Control, FCTA, Tpl Mukhtar Galadima hinted that “that the building is located within the Garki indigenous settlement. The building had two suspended floors, one used for commercial activities while the other floors were used as residential accommodation. The building caved in yesterday and 37 persons were rescued.
“The statues of the place is that it is not a planned area so the development had no planning approval. In fact the area is meant for resettlement from here to Apo resettlement town”.