By Ugochukwu Alaribe, Umuahia
Following the collapse of a three-story building under construction at No. 85 Azikiwe Road, Aba; Abia state government has stated that the developer of the building got no approval from the town planning authority.
A three-story building had collapsed in Aba, last Wednesday, killing five persons while one survived.
Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu told Vanguard that preliminary investigations revealed that the plan for the building was yet to be approved with on-site evaluations indicating that the materials used to construct the collapsed part of the structure being sub-standard.
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He explained that the developer and engineer had used the period of the lockdown on COVID-19 to hurriedly continue work on the building to evade the eyes of the town planning authorities in the area.
The Commissioner warned that the government will not tolerate a situation where buildings are indiscriminately erected without proper approval and supervision, stressing that investigations are ongoing to ensure that those found culpable would be prosecuted.
He disclosed that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu expressed shock at the low-quality materials used to erect the 3-story building and directed the suspension of the Executive Secretary, Aba Town Planning Authority, Mr. Okezie Ahuruonye as well as the arrest the developer of the property.
Meanwhile, the suspended Executive Secretary of the Aba South Town Planning Authority, Mr. Ahuruonye Okezie, said the developer didn’t secure approval for the building and failed to submit any drawing.
In his words; “They were not given a go-ahead order which is what the typical Aba man does. Their file is in the office, the last communication we had was on the 20th of May, 2020 when we asked them to scale down their building. Since then, they have not submitted any drawings until this morning. This is quite unfortunate and a problem we have with Aba residents.
“You do not build when you have not received approval. The law said the field should not be cleared until approval is given. This building was mostly done during the lockdown. We stayed for a whole month in April at home. Just after the relaxing, we resumed office activities on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the typical Aba developer will do this on Saturday and Sunday when he thinks nobody will be in the office.”