Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has directed the state Attorney-General to set up a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the collapse of a seven-storey building at Woji road, New GRA in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike described the building collapse as a sad development which has led to the painful loss of lives.
“I feel so pained that we have to face this kind of calamity at this time. I commiserate with the families that have lost their loved ones, who came to seek their daily bread. The government will do all it can to give them the necessary support,” the governor said.
“I have directed the Attorney-General of Rivers State to ensure that all legal steps are taken to do what is right within the ambit of the law.”
The governor ordered the immediate arrest of the owner of the collapsed building, saying that the state government will bring all culprits to book.
“Whoever that approved this structure and those involved in the construction will face the law. The government will take every necessary step to ensure that culprits are brought to justice.
“Whoever is involved, from the owner or the contractor or the officials of the state, they will face the full weight of the law,” he said.
Speaking when he led top government officials to visit the site of the collapsed building, Governor Wike noted that all officials of the Rivers State Government who defaulted in their duties would be sanctioned.
The governor was accompanied by his wife, Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike and top government officials.
“Government will take steps to acquire this property. We cannot allow this illegality. If you look at the master plan of this area, a seven-storey building is not allowed here.”
Governor Wike commended the construction giants, security agencies and non-governmental organisations for working with the state government to carry out rescue operations at the site of the building collapse.
It will be recalled that the seven-storey building at Woji road collapsed on Friday, with the state government mobilising emergency services to rescue trapped persons.
As at yesterday, there have been conflicting figures of persons rescued. While the government stated that 38 persons were rescued, some security personnel at the scene claimed the 28 persons have so far been rescued.
Meanwhile, the seven persons have been confirmed dead by those carrying out the rescue operation.
The governor directed that rescue operations should continue and at the time of filing this report 6:05 pm, intensive work was ongoing at the site.