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Building collapse: Wike orders arrest of landlord

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, has ordered the immediate arrest of the owner of the ill-fated building that collapsed on Wednesday night, in Abuja where two persons lost their lives.

Wike, who visited the scene of the incident on Thursday, directed that the landlord of the building be identified and arrested, while indigenes of the area be resettled within the shortest possible time.

The minister, who regretted that the area has been allowed to fester for too long, disclosed that government will take over the area and ensure that no further development is carried out in the area.

While sympathising with the families of those who lost their loved ones in the incident, the minister directed that the hospital bills of the survivors be bore by the FCTA.

“It’s unfortunate that we woke this morning to the very disturbing news of this building collapse. Let me thank the agencies particularly NEMA and FEMA that has supported us to rescue not less than 32 lives. Its unfortunate that we lost two lives.

“I will appeal to the permanent secretary to make sure that funds are raised to pay the hospital bills of those who were rescued so that we don’t lose any more person, and this should be done immediately.”

Wike, who also advised that the demolition of buildings and other clean-up measures by government should not be seen as personal vendetta, insisted that such measures are carried out in the interest of the people

“These are the things we have been saying, nobody knows whose turn it will be, therefore when government says it will take actions in areas we believe there are illegal developments or buildings that don’t comply with the standard codes. It is not as if anybody has any personal vendetta but for me it is for us to do the right thing.

“I don’t know why it has taken long that the FCTA has not resettled them and so we will take immediate action to see that the indigenes of these place are resettled and then government has to plan out this place. When government says take building plan, it is not to suffer anybody but to make sure that everyone is protected. Cities are planned to forestall this kind of occurrences. Imagine buildings without approval.

“I will ask that we must identify and arrest the owner of this property. It is very important. Government will of course take over this area and make sure no further development is carried out here. I want all the stakeholders here to please work with government  in the interest of everybody.

“I know sometimes government decisions may not be too comfortable with the people, but at the long run it is in the interest of the people. Now we are all gathered here and none of us is happy we are here, these are the things we are trying to forestall.”

Earlier, the Director of the FCT Department of Development Control, Mukhtar Galadima, said the collapsed building located within the Garki indigenous settlement has no building plan approval.

“The building had two suspended floors, one used for commercial activities while the other floors were used as residential accommodation. The building caved in yesterday and 37 persons were rescued 

“The statues of the place is that it is not a planned area so the development had no planning approval. In fact the area is meant for resettlement from here to Apo resettlement town.”

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