Five-storey building collapses in Anambra

Scene of the building collapse in Anambra State on March 10, 2024

Less than three weeks after a three-storey building collapsed at the Odu-Igbo section of the Ochanja Market in Onitsha, killing no fewer than six persons, another five-storey building has collapsed at Basden Street, Fegge, in the commercial city of Onitsha, Onitsha South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

It was gathered that the building, meant to serve commercial purposes on completion, collapsed in the early hours of Sunday, while some of the construction workers were on the last floor.

Sources in the area said the building made a loud noise that sent panic around the area before caving in from the fifth floor, adding that there were human activities under the building a few hours before it collapsed.

A source said, “On Friday night, there was heavy rainfall in the area and it came with heavy winds for several hours and just at about 5am on Sunday, we heard a thunderous noise from the construction site and after a few minutes, the building started caving in from the last floor.

“Some of the workers were on the last floor when the building came down. No one knows how many of them were there, but they were trapped in the rubble. The developer quickly moved an excavator to the site to begin the evacuation of the rubble and possible rescue operations for the trapped victims.

“The building was at its finishing stages. An escalator is currently working on the debris to see if the trapped persons will be rescued, we are not sure if they are still dead or alive, the local government area chairman has visited there and waiting for the escalator to pull down the remains of the building.”

Although the reason for the collapse had yet to be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, it was gathered that one person had been rescued while rescue operations were still ongoing to locate other trapped victims from the rubble.

When contacted on the development, the state police spokesperson, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed the incident and said security operatives were already on the ground to coordinate the rescue operation.

He, however, declined to comment on the number of casualties, saying the rescue operation when completed will answer that.

“Immediately the incident was reported, the DPO in charge of the area quickly cordoned off the place and our DCP Ops is already on the ground to coordinate the rescue operation, which is ongoing.

“Yes, our operatives led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations are there now, the area has been cordoned and rescue operations are ongoing, further details shall be communicated, please.

“The number of casualties or fatalities, if any, can’t be discussed now until the rescue operation is completed,” Ikenga said.

The Chairman of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Chike Mmaduekwe, who also confirmed the incident, lamented the development.

He, however, disclosed that approval given was for the construction of a three-storey building but the developer went contrary to plan and started erecting a five-storey building.

Also, the Transition Committee Chairman of the Onitsha South LGA, Chief Emeka Orji, said, “An emergency rescue team has already been deployed to carry out preliminary rescue activities with the assistance of security operatives in the area.

“We urge members of the public not to panic as the Onitsha South Local Government Area is on the top of the moment.”

The Public Relations Officer, Anambra State Emergency Management Agency, Chinyere Nworah, could not be reached as she did not respond to messages and calls to her telephone.

As of the time of filing this report, rescue operations were still ongoing at the scene and no official casualty figure has yet been obtained.