One person was killed and about six others trapped when a three-storey building collapsed around 3am in Aba, Abia State on Wednesday.
The building is located on the Azikiwe Road by Kent Street, Aba.
Residents and good Samaritans mobilised to rescue those trapped in the rubble, having sighted the legs of some them, before the arrival of excavators sent by the state government.
The state Commissioner for Works, Mr Bob Ogu, said excavators had been deployed in the site and were working to get to those who were trapped, adding, “After that, we will review the situation.”
He confirmed that a corpse was discovered on the first floor and said that many might still be trapped.
Meanwhile, the state government has vowed to prosecute those responsible for collapsed building.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, while reacting to the incident, directed the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency and the Aba South Local Government Area’s Town Planning Authority to “immediately ensure full and safe demolition of the partially collapsed three-storey building along Azikiwe Road in Aba.”
The Commissioner for Information, Chief John Kalu, said in a statement, “The government received with sadness news of the collapse of the three-storey building, which was under construction, in the early hours of today (Wednesday) and the governor immediately directed the relevant agencies to the location as well as mobilised earthmoving equipment to the site on a search-and-rescue mission.
“So far, we have one confirmed fatality and those on the site are working to see if there are others trapped in the rubble.
“Preliminary information indicates that the plan for the building has yet to be approved with on site evaluations, indicating that the materials used to construct the collapsed part of the structure are sub-standard.”
The commissioner stated that security agents were currently on a manhunt for the building engineer and developer of the property, adding that the building was hurriedly put up during the COVID-19 lockdown period with a view to possibly evade the town planning authorities.