By Dennis Udoma & Chioma Onuegbu
UYO—No fewer than two persons have been confirmed dead, while 17 others sustained various degrees of injury, yesterday, following another building collapse at Urua Edet-Obo, a popular market at Ikot Akpatek, in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The incident occured at Governor Udom Emmanuel’s country home in Onna.
The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Murtala Mani, confirmed the incident to newsmen on telephone.
He said: “Only two women died. An old wall fell on them and unfortunately, they died,” adding that many others had been taken to hospital for treatment.
An eye witness account said that corpses of the victims had been deposited at Immanuel Hospital in Eket, a neighbouring local government area in the state.
Vanguard gathered that the market structures which were built over six decades ago, had become weak and collapsed in the early hours of yesterday.
The incident happened, barely a week after a church building tragedy that claimed the lives of dozens of worshippers at Reigners’ Bible Church in Uyo on December 10.
Some of the victims, who sustained injuries were said to be mostly women, and have since been resuscitated and were responding to treatment.
According to the eye witness, “The building of the market collapsed today (yesterday). Urua Edet-Obo is an old market having been in existence for over 60 years. It was only renovated three years ago.”
Meanwhile, members of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, NITP, Akwa Ibom State chapter, rose from a meeting, yesterday, condemning the building of Reigners Bible Church in an area that was declared ‘a conservation area’by the state government in 2002 because of the erosion prone nature of the area.
“We did not expect professionals in the building environment to be involved in the development of such a structure in that area, without declassification and due approval from the governor of the state,” they said.
The institute in a statement by its acting Chairman, Dr. Beulah Ofem, said records at its disposal showed that the development at the site was carried out outside the ambit of the law as several contravention and stop-work-notices dated March 6, 2013, July 19, 2014, March 1, 2016, July 20, 2016 and demolition marking/notice issued to the developer of the project on August 16, 2016, were ignored.