Abia State Governor Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, has ordered immediate evacuation and seal-off of the block of shops that collapsed Wednesday morning in Aba, the state’s commercial hub.
A stretch of building housing about 15 shops inside the Shopping Centre Market, Aba, Zone 13, broke apart and caved in as traders got ready for the day’s business.
However, there was no report of loss of lives or injury to traders and visitors to the market as those within promptly escaped when someone raised alarm of unusual cracks on the walls of the building.
Gov Otti, who commiserated with traders whose shops were affected, described the tragic incident as unfortunate and avoidable, saying it was part of the rot of the past administration that the present government is trying to correct.
“Reports reaching me from traders in the market suggest that this tragic and unfortunate incident is as a result of greed by officials of the past administration.
“I understand that additional structures were erected on existing floors not minding the negative impact and structural defect such would have on the building.
“The consequence of that indiscretion is this avoidable tragedy of collapsed block of shops. We, however, thank God that there is no loss of life or injury to anyone,” Dr. Otti said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Kazie Uko, made available to SummitNews.
The governor said he had dispatched the Commissioner for Information, Prince Okey Kanu, and the Senior Special Assistant on Aba Rejuvenation, Mr. Uche Ukeje, for an on-the-spot assessment of the incident.
Meanwhile, Dr. Otti has ordered that an integrity test be conducted on all the other shops in the market to guard against a repeat of such occurrence.