By CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI—One person was confirmed dead while an undisclosed number of artisans were reportedly trapped when a three- storey building collapsed at about 9pm Sunday night, in Owerri, Imo State.
Vanguard investigations revealed that some of the workers engaged by the landlord and contractor of the ill-fated house were resting in the building when it crumbled.
It was also gathered that the dead man, Mr. Joseph Bassey Ekandem, a 28-year-old carpenter was an only child of his parents who hailed from Cross Rivers State.
Speaking to Vanguard at the scene of the gory incident, the Executive Secretary of Imo State Emergency Management Agency, ISEMA, Mrs. Uche Ezeonyeasi, expressed shock that the landlord and his contractor upon hearing about the incident, visited the scene and simply locked the gate and vanished into the thin air.
Ezeonyeasi said there was nothing to show that the landlord or his contractor reported the incident to the police, State Security Service, SSS or ISEMA.
She lamented that because the state government did not have the needed equipment to handle such a disaster, its only option was to engage the services of contracting firms to assist in the rescue operation.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adisa Baba Bolanta, who appeared short of words, simply said: “We will go after the landlord and his contractor. They must give account of what happened here.”
At the time of going to press, a combined team of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, police, army, State Security Service, Red Cross and sympathizers were still busy digging through the rubbles in search of other workers.