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Rivers collapsed building: 100 victims still trapped

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Over 100 workers are still trapped in the high rise building that collapsed in a part of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Friday evening.

The eight storey five star hotel with an underground layer and seven storey on the surface collapsed on the over 200 workers and contractors on site about 5:15 pm, leaving those inside trapped in the wreckage.

About 30 of the victims have been rescued alive since the incident, with two other dead bodies recovered.

Some of the lucky workers that escaped the falling structure, who narrated their ordeal at the site of the building yesterday said; “We had already finished work for the day at around 5pm, I was standing at the front of the building outside, trying to clean up so I could change to a better clothe before I could go for my daily pay.

“By this time all the workers, numbering over 200, mainly youths, were inside trying to get their money as well. While I was wearing my clothe. I heard the sound as if something was breaking down; when I looked, it was the building. I quickly ran across the road to escape to the opposite side of the building. In the process, I was injured by nail, but I have gone to the hospital to treat it.”

Also another person, who said he was the operator of one of the machines used in mixing materials for the work, narrowly escaped death.

According to him, he was already inside the building hall, waiting for the time to collect his wage, when all of a sudden, he heard the sound and saw the front view of the building falling inside; then I jumped and continued to run, got to a small gate by the entrance, dust had covered everywhere. I merely opened the gate on getting outside the building. I could not see anything, the dust had taken over the entire environment that one could not even figure out where the main road was.

“At this time I gave up and stopped running any further so I would not collide with on-coming vehicle while trying to cross the road, but somehow, the building fell inside and not outside, otherwise it would have still picked me. I was already tired of running.”

Asked who, apart from the workers were within the building when the incident happened, he said, some contractors that also came for their money, including the woman that was supplying the sand and food vendors that came around to recover the debt owed them by the workers.

Although the cause of the collapse is yet to be ascertained, sympathisers who are knowledgeable about building quality ruled out substandard materials as possible cause, as each analyser confirmed that the rods and cement mixtures are accurate, adding that the rods are of the highest quality ranging between 20 and 25 mm size, just as instead of blocks, the structure were being scared.

They were however not sure of the soil quality as they said the environment is swampy in nature, adding that the weight of the structures may have put unbearable stress on the soil ground causing the collapse.

However the state House of Assembly said it will commence investigation into the remote and immediate causes of the collapse of the 7-storey building along Woji Road in GRA, Port Harcourt.

Majority Leader of the House, Martin Amaewhule, stated this when Rivers lawmakers visited the site of the incident on Saturday morning.

He said: “The Rivers State House of Assembly will reconvene to carry out proper investigation into what happened and you can be assured that in the coming days, we will sit and we will review the situation. Collapse of the building happened around 4 p.m. on Friday. So, we need to properly investigate before we run into conclusions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the two main political parties in the state are competing on show of concern on the site.

Governor Nyesom Wike has already travelled before the incident, Friday, but the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, has visited the scene.

Also all the State Executive Council members have been keeping vigil at the site to ensure that every single victim was rescued alive.

In the same vein, the APC gubernatorial candidate, Arch. Tonye Cole, also visited the scene to also show his sympathy.

Meanwhile the State Government says it has invited all those who can assist in the rescue of those trapped in the collapsed building.

According to a statement from the Deputy Governor yesterday, Governor Wike had mandated her to assure family members and friends of those caught up in the disaster that the Rivers State Government would ensure that they are rescued alive.

Reliable sources said the collapsed structure is owned by a Bayelsan, and that he was trying to replicate what he has in Abuja in the state.

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Tribunal sack: Dino Melaye reacts, says no cause for alarm

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The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district, Dino Melaye, has reacted to the nullification of his victory in the March 22 election and ordering of a fresh election by the Kogi West National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Lokoja on Friday.

Melaye, in a statememt, said the judgment is a miscarriage of justice and therefore, no cause of alarm.

The PDP chieftain further said that his legal team was already studying the judgement, adding that he would appeal it.

He said he was confident that the Appeal Court would upturn the judgement of the lower tribunal.

According to him, the judgement was full of importation of information that was alien to the case.

Melaye said, “I, however, commend the courage and moral strength of the chairman of the tribunal for resisting evil and standing on the part of justice?”

“I have confidence in the Appeal Court to right the wrongs as contained in the pronouncements of the judgement.”

He added, “I also want to tell those jubilating that their jubilation will be short-lived while appealing to my teeming supporters to remain calm as their mandate is safe and secure and cannot be taken through any mischievous means.

“However, our legal team is already working on appealing the judgment and I assure all that justice will prevail.”

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BREAKING: Tribunal sacks Dino Melaye as Kogi west senator

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The Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has quashed the victory of Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial district.

Melaye (PDP) was declared winner in the February election by INEC but Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC) approached the tribunal, challenging INEC declaration on three grounds of irregularities, over voting and non compliance with the electoral acts.

The three man panel led by Justice A. O. Chijioke in a unanimous judgment on Friday accepted Adeyemi’s ground and order for reelection into the senatorial axis.

…More details shortly

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Sylva assumes duty as minister of state for petroleum …As NNPC, others welcome him

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The newly appointed Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has assumed duties with a pledge to reposition and chart a way forward for the Nigerian petroleum sector.

A press release Wednesday by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said Chief Sylva pledged to work with the experts at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the other departments and agencies under the Ministry to move the sector forward.

In a welcome ceremony for Chief Sylva at the NNPC Towers in Abuja, the new Minister of State for Petroleum Resources who was accompanied by his wife, Alanyingi Sylva, stated that with the calibre of workforce in the Ministry, he was sure that the nation’s oil and gas sector would move to the next level.

Chief Sylva, who is a former Governor of Bayelsa State brings on the job several years of cognate experience in the petroleum sector.

The new Minister of State contributed profoundly to the institution of the Amnesty programme in the Niger Delta region which, over time, has led to restoration of peace in the oil producing areas of Nigeria.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, reassured Chief Sylva of the readiness of all members of staff in the Ministry to support him to succeed in the onerous task of transforming the Nigerian oil and gas sector for the good of all stakeholders.

On hand to welcome the Minister at the brief ceremony were the Group Managing director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari; Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Training Development Fund (PTDF), Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau; and the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi, amongst others.

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