The Commissioner for Special Duties in Rivers State, Dr. John Bazia, has said that the seven-storey building which collapsed in Port Harcourt on November 23, 2018, was because of over 700 bags of cement stacked in the building.
Bazia disclosed this in Port Harcourt to a five-man commission of enquiry constituted by the state government to investigate the immediate and remote cause of the tragic collapse.
Bazia who appeared as a witness to the rescue operation during the incident, said it was discovered that about 700 bags of cement were kept on the second floor of the collapsed building. He stated that it was wrong for such load to be left on a building that is under construction, adding that the 700 bags of cement may be the cause of the incident.
He said: “I can assure you that all those that were alive were rescued. 31 persons were alive while 17 people died. It took us over two weeks to get to the basement of the building. “I was informed by one of the workers at the site that 700 bags of cement were kept on the second floor. This load may have caused it. It is not good to keep such load on a building that is still under construction.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning, Dr. Reason Onya, had explained that documents of the building were approved in 2014, stating that he only re-validated the documents.
Onya, who has since stepped aside after the incident for the sake of integrity, stated that at the point of re-validation of the building documents, the original files domiciled in the state ministry could not be found, adding that he relied on the approval number found in the office.