Three Feared Dead in Asaba As Flyover Under Construction CollapsedFeatured, Latest News, News Friday, June 20th, 2014
From Ignatius Okpara, Asaba
Workers of CCC Construction Company Limited handling flyover, at the popular Inter-Bau Roundabout in Asaba, Thursday embarked on a street protest, over the collapse of the overhead bridge in which the victims are presently in coma in the hospital.
The aggrieved workers, blamed the disaster on the carelessness of the company’s management which they claimed has refused to adhere to safety regulations. They also expressed worry over the insensitivity of the management on their plight, stressing the unfortunate incident would have been averted if strict safety regulations were adhered to.
African Examiner, learnt that the affected workers were initially rushed to the Federal Medical Centre FMC by officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
An eyewitness account explained that, the pile pit with a depth of over 20 feet, designed to hold the beams on which the flyover rests, collapsed on the victims at about 11am on the fateful day. The protesting workers told African Examiner that they were aggrieved due to management’s insistence that they should return to their work despite the tragic incident.
One of the workers who spoke to our correspondent said “Management is insensitive to the plight of workers of this company. Imagine, they told us to go and work there without protection when they know that particular place would cave in,”
He said “One of our colleagues lost his arm the other day and the management did not show concern. There were two others who died while on duty due to lack of adherence to safety regulations, and the management never deemed it fit to attend their burial ceremonies.
“They are taking us for granted. Imaging what has just happened to those people who were almost buried in the pit. Instead of trying to save their lives, they are telling us to go back to work,” the worker lamented.
In his reaction, a member of the management staff, who refused to identify himself, blamed the collapse of the pit on incessant rains. “I am only here to address my workers and not journalists. I do not have time for you people,” he retorted.
Also reacting, another employee who did not want his name mentioned, blamed the company for not providing personal protective equipment (PPE), including coveralls, hand gloves, hard hats and safety boots and welfare incentives.
“Lots of things are happening at the site. Despite all odds, we have pressed forward. We know our rights. If anything happens to us, let the company show concern. Someone had an accident last week we all went back to work.
“Today, three persons were buried alive and are in a state of coma. All we are asking for is to have a day’s rest, so we can pray for them. “We are not being well taken care of, we should honour the people who are on the sick bed,” the worker contended.
In the main time, Anambra Standards Organization of Nigeria, (SON) has vowed to bring down multi-story buildings in the area that fall below structural standards.
This, it said was against the backdrop of many cases of collapsed buildings in the commercial city of Onitsha. Director- General (DG) of the agency, Joseph Odumodu, made this known while inspecting the sites of three multi-story buildings that recently collapsed in different parts of the city.
African Examiner had reported a multi-story building belonging to Anglican Church, which collapsed in the city in the last three weeks and killed five persons, while many other workers at the site were critically injured.
The SON boss said: “Three buildings collapsed in Onitsha within a space of three weeks is an epidemic. Something must be done quickly about it”.
“My recommendation is that we have to look around for the structural integrity of newly constructed buildings. There are still others that are standing that will come down. We have to avoid a major or collateral damage,” Odumodu emphasized. He also threatened very soon, those who built and commissioned collapsed buildings” would be made to face the law.
The SON chief likened the act of using substandard materials to erect building to terrorism, which kills innocent people.
“We are in the process of putting together a new law at the National Assembly. Once that law comes out, then you can see my teeth will become like that of Dracula. And we can bite,” he said.
But before then, Odumodu, said the organization and other regulatory bodies in the building industry would ensure that every multi-story building project was strictly supervised.
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