The Abia State Government on Saturday demolished a two-storey building in Umuahia, capital of the state, in a proactive move to save lives and property.
A statement by Josephine Ogwo, Director of Information, Ministry of Lands & Housing, said a rapid response team, comprising the Ministries of Lands and Housing; Power & Public Utilities; Works; and also the Umuahia Capital Development Authority (UCDA), the Nigerian Police Force, the Abia State Fire Service, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and the Nigerian Society of Engineers, brought down the structurally defective building.
The demolition of the building located at 5, Akanu Street (opposite FCMB, near Government House) Umuahia, followed the alarm raised by occupants, who hurriedly evacuated the building of their own accord after visible defects were noticed on the structure, sandwiched between two other buildings.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the demolition exercise, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Mr. Chaka Chukwumerije, pointed out that the primary objective of the exercise was to save lives.
“The site was quickly cordoned off by UCDA, the road blocked by the fire service, and everyone in the surrounding area evacuated, by the Nigerian Police, in order to preserve public safety and ensure no casualties were recorded.
“The initial efforts to strip the building block by block, in order to preserve the surrounding structures, was deemed unsafe, and quickly replaced by a swift demolishment of the building, while minimising the damage to surrounding structures,” Mr. Chukwumerije said.
Speaking also, the Commissioner for Power and Public Utilities, Mr. Ikechukwu Monday, who affirmed that the present administration in the state believes in due process, thanked God that no life was lost, even as he enjoined builders to always engage the services of professionals.
The General Manager Umuahia Capital Development Authority (UCDA), Tpl Kenneth Agomoh, reiterated the Governor Alex Otti administration’s commitment to restore the integrity and sanity of buildings, in the state; and encouraged the public to come forward with any information relating to defective structures.
He said that going forward, the UCDA will be proactive in checkmating illegal structures.