The collapse of a seven-storey building in Port Harcourt last Friday has raised concern among stakeholders in the building industry over the safety and regulation of multi-storey buildings in the city.
The building, which was located along Woji Road in the GRA part of the city collapsed while still under construction and trapped many of the workers most of whom were feared dead. A few of them however, were rescued and taken to a medical facility in the city by a team led by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. John Bazia.
It was the first time in so many years that a building had collapsed in Port Harcourt. The most devastating collapse was about 30 years ago when a private secondary school building belonging to Saque Comprehensive Secondary school collapsed, killing tens of students.
John Tani, a building engineer said the cause of the collapse of the seven-storey building could be structural. “Once the structure is sound nothing can collapse a building except an earthquake or an explosion,” he said.
A resident of the city, Jane Ogboru attributed the collapse of the building to the rapid way in which it was being constructed. “The builders should have allowed the building to set properly before adding more floors,” she said, advocating stricter regulation of building construction in the state, particularly multi-storey buildings.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Special Duties who was at the site of the building collapse, declined comments when the magazine approached him.