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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Anambra Building Collapse: ASMATU Sets Up 7-Man Panel, As Financier-Contractor Alleges Sabotage


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The President-General of the Awka South Markets Amalgamated Traders Union (ASMATU), Comrade Anayo Nweke has alleged sabotage in the toilet facility which collapsed at Eke Oyibo Market, Amawbia, by 12.30pm of Thursday, July 4, 2024.

Nweke who spoke to newsmen after assessment of the extent of damage, also dismissed the claim that the project was a two-storey building, but a suspended toilet facility with staircase.

He thanked the members of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Red Cross, traders and passers-by, for their timely intervention and rescue operation.

According to him, the suspicious collapse, coming on the heels of endless leadership crisis and unhealthy rivalry in the quotation for the contract award would be looked into by investigation panel.

The ASMATU Boss said he had set up a seven-man panel headed by Chief Uba Anetoh, a Town Planner, to examine the remote and immediate cause(s) of the collapse of the building.

The Panel, according to him, has one-week to carry out the investigation, conclude, and submit its report.

When contacted, the Financier- Contractor handling the collapsed toilet facility, Engr. Arinze Anyadiegwu said he was on his way back to Awka from Lagos when he got the information, debunking the speculations and allegations attributing the collapse to poor engineering work.

Anyadiegwu said: “We’ve been using solid and strong materials and all the rods are of standard quality, including the sand and the stone, irrespective of the fact that the rods used are 16 mm measurement. All rods we used are 16 mm used to erect storey budding, irrespective of the fact that the roof is casted as well.”

Continuing, he said, “I want to make it clear that it is a pure sabotage. You won’t believe we’ve 28 to 30 solid pillars with up to five feet deep from the ground to ensure well fortification of the project. I have over 100 other shops at that Amawbia Market and none has a problem.

“The situation that happened is not out of mismanaged structure.”

Anyadiegwu, who revealed that he had fierce and unhealthy competitors who bid for the award of the contract, further alleged foul play and sabotage.

Recall that some persons were trapped down to death, while some others were rescued alive on Thursday at the Eke Oyibo Market, Amawbia, in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, following the said building collapse that occured at about 14:40 pm in the market.

SP Ikenga Tochukwu, the Spokesperson of the State Police Command had, through a statement made available to newsmen, explained how the police operatives rushed to the scene for rescue operation after receiving a distress call about the incident, and during which, he said, the Command rescued two persons and rushed them to the hospital, as at the time he issued the statement; while the search for other victims continued.

According to the Police Spokesman, “Investigations revealed that some unknown persons pulled off many of the bamboos supporting the first floor of the building when it’s not yet 21 days; even as it’s alleged that a chemical was poured on the foundation of the building to weaken it as a sabotage.”

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