Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has ordered the immediate arrest of the owner of the seven-storey building which collapsed at Woji Road, New GRA, in Port Harcourt, at the weekend.
Wike also directed the Attorney General and Justice Commissioner to set up a Commission of Inquiry, to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of
Wike described the building collapse as a sad development which has led to the painful loss of lives.
He said: “I feel so pained that we have to face this kind of calamity at this time. I commiserate with the families who have lost their loved ones; who came to seek their daily bread. Government will do all it can to give them the necessary support.
“I have directed the Attorney-General to ensure that all legal steps are taken to do what is right within the ambit of the law.”
“Whoever approved this structure and those involved in the construction will face the law. Government will take every necessary step to ensure that culprits are brought to justice. Whoever is involved, from the owner or the contractor or the officials of the state, they will face the full weight of the law. Government will take steps to acquire this property. We cannot allow this illegality. If you look at the masterplan of this area, a seven-storey building is not allowed here…”
The governor commended construction giants, security agencies and non-governmental organisations for working with the state government to carry out rescue operations.
Wike was accompanied by his wife, Justice Eberechi Suzzette and top government officials, to the site of the collapsed building.
The seven-storey building at Woji Road collapsed last Friday, with the state government mobilising emergency services to rescue trapped persons.
While government said 38 persons have been rescued, some security personnel at the scene claimed only 28 persons have, so far, been rescued.
Meanwhile, seven people have been confirmed dead; by those carrying out the rescue operation. The governor directed that rescue operations should continue and at the time of filing this report at 6:05pm, intensive rescue work was ongoing at the site.