By Emma Arubi & Akpokona Omafuaire
WARRI â€” ONE person was feared dead, while 32 others were hospitalised, yesterday, as the scaffold used for the construction of a five storey, 911 plaza building, belonging to Mr. Ayiri Emami, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,Â Chairman, Warri South West Local Government Area, along Ogunu Road, Warri, collapsed on workmen and women under it at about 2:00 p.m.Â
The collapse, according to a source, was due to alleged negligence by the contractor, whose identity was still unknown as at press time.
An eye witness said, â€œit was horrific, when I saw someone with his intestine surging out, others were in indescribable situations, I felt very bad. I cannot eat meat again and if I had a camera, I would have taken the photographs”.
Another source said: â€œAyiri was here this morning, he complained about the unsafe scaffold but the contractor told him that there was no problem, that he was interfering with his job.â€
The victims with various injuries,Â were rushed to the Warri Central Hospital, were among the over 60 skilled and unskilled workers engaged by the contractor handling the building and were on duty when the incident occurred.
Divisional Police Officer,Â A Division, Warri, Mr Effiong Okon, in a telephone chat, confirmed the incident.
When our correspondents visited the scene, there was panic and vehicular movement was grounded to a halt, as toutsÂ manhandled anyone seen trying to take photographs of the collapsed building.
The same was the situation at the hospital, as thugs and mobile policemenÂ seized cameras belonging to Daniel Oji and Joe Ogbodu, reporters of Delta Broadcasting Service and Compass Newspapers for daring to take photographs of the injured victims, thus baring image coverage of the victims.
Hospital sources confirmed that â€œ33 persons were rushed here, one was confirmed dead, 5 victims in serious situations have been referred to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.â€
One of the victimsâ€™ relative, Mrs. Tony in her lamentation said â€œwhen I heard the story, i was dumbfounded; I heard that the entire building collapse and everybody dead but thank God, i just learnt that he broke his leg, he never wanted to go to work today.â€
Ayiri who visited the scene told Journalists â€œI came in the morning and expressed concern about the scaffold when I saw them working but the contractor allayed my fears, it is unfortunate, I am shocked that this is happening. I regret this accident.â€