The Governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji, on Sunday, expressed deep sympathy over the injuries sustained by six persons when an event centre suddenly collapsed in Ijero Ekiti, Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State, on Saturday.
The building, F and G Event Centre, located along Ijero-Ido Ekiti road, with over 250 occupants, had its roof and walls receded around 4 pm while being used as a reception venue for a burial ceremony.
Apart from the wreckage, the building auditorium and surroundings were littered with spilt foods served for the guests, broken bottles, shoes, male caps, female wigs and headgear.
Oyebanji, represented by his Deputy, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye, who visited the site of the building collapse and Ijero General Hospital, where some victims received treatments, on Sunday morning, grieved over the incident, saying he deemed the accident as very disturbing and saddening.
Addressing the sympathisers, Oyebanji directed all government agencies to ensure that all public buildings of that nature are supervised and certified at every stage to avoid unwarranted fatalities.
The Governor said the incident could have been averted if government agencies carried out proper building scrutinies and compliance with specifications, warning that a situation like that shouldn’t be allowed to reoccur in the state.
Oyebanji assured that his government will map out strategies to make emergency management equipment available in all the local governments to respond to any alarming situation.
“Let me sympathise with the victims of this devastating incident. Nobody prays for bad things to happen, but we need to be proactive in preventing occurrences of this nature, rather than being retroactive.
“I know that if the building had been thoroughly supervised and certified fit at every stage of the erection, this incident could have been averted.
“It is just normal and procedural that all public buildings should be monitored and that they built to specifications and with standard materials used because the common feature associated with building collapse now is for contractors to use substandard products.
“We thank God that no life was lost. But as a responsible government, we won’t wait until people die before taking actions that can safeguard their lives. That is why it is most expedient that all government agencies must be responsive to their duties all the time,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency (EKSEMA), Mr Olajide Borode, who was on the entourage, said men of the fire services were immediately deployed to the spot for a rescue operation as soon as he received a distressed call.
“We want to appreciate our people for commencing the rescuing operation through evacuation of the occupants out of the building before the Fire Service men came to join them.
“The Ekiti State Bureau of Special Project will be here to do Intergrity Test on the building to ascertain whether it can be salvaged or be demolished outrightly,” he said.
In his submission, the lawmaker representing Ijero Constituency in the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Ademola Ojo, commended the Governor for prioritising the safety of the citizens, saying his visit corroborated the fact that the current government is an unrepentant lover of the people.
Relaying a vivid account of how the incident happened, the lawmaker said: “A reception exercise for a burial ceremony was ongoing when there was a deep crack in the wall. And suddenly, the roofing and Plaster of Paris (POP) caved in and fell on those who were seated inside the auditorium.
“This caused a stampede. Many were wounded in the process, while some occupants sustained serious bodily injuries. I was here with the Chairman of the Local Government with Fire Service men to rescue the people out of the rubble.
“Those who were seriously wounded were immediately taken to the hospital for treatments”.