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Three-storey building collapses in Owerri, four killed



Four persons were killed while three others sustained severe injuries in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Sunday following the collapse of a three-storey building.

The three injured persons were among the seven survivors in the tragedy.

Among those who perished in the building, which occurred on Egbu Road, opposite Fire Service, in the state capital, were a one-year and six months old girl, Osinachi Nnabu; a three-year-old boy, Amara, and two adults whose identities were yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing in this report.

The parents of Osinachi, Mrs. and Mrs. Dominic Nnabu, and one Sunday Uzohor survived the building collapse with minor injuries and were in stable conditions.

But two serving national youth corps members and a 40-year-old man, whose name was later given as Anoruo, were unconscious as medical doctors at the Police Clinic, Owerri, were said to be battling to save their lives.

While the male youth corps member was simply identified as Chinedu, the female corps member, whose name was yet to be given, was later revealed to be a Law graduate, undertaking her national service at Douglas Street area of the state capital.

Bose Salami, the officer in charge of the police clinic, confirmed to our correspondent that two children and two adults died in the incident.

She said that the two youth corps members and one Anoruo were being treated there.

It was gathered that the two NYSC members were sleeping in the same room when the building collapsed in the night, and it reportedly took eight hours to rescue the young graduates, who were ‘buried’ in the debris even as they were still breathing when they were found.

One of the survivors, Uzoha, said that there was nothing that showed that danger was lurking, adding that it was by the grace of God that he survived the incident. Nnabu, the father of one of the deceased children, said that it was by God’s grace that he and his wife survived the incident, adding that they had barely lived two months in the building before the tragedy.

Evans Ugoh, Coordinator of Owerri Operations, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said, “We have been able to rescue five people while four have been confirmed dead, but we are still on to see if there are others trapped in the building”.

Okochukwu Nnadi, an eyewitness and tricycle operator, said the incident happened around 4a.m on Sunday.

“I came out very early to convey early morning worshippers to church before the collapse happened.

“I was the one who rushed to the police station near the house to alert them on the incident.

“I was shocked to see four people already dead when they were brought out of the place,” he said.

Goverbor Rochas Okorocha, who later visited the scene said, “This is very sad.”

“I will take drastic measures to checkmate sub-standard buildings in this state, regardless of who is involved.”

Okorocha assured that the state government would take care of the medical bills of the victims recuperating in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Chris Ezike, the state Commissioner of Police, said preliminary investigation had shown that the tragedy was as a result of unprofessional construction work done on the building.

Ezike, however, assured that on conclusion of investigation, his command would prosecute all those whose actions and inactions caused the disaster.

Engr. Kingsley Onwubiko, a representative of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Imo State chapter, told INDEPENDENT that investigation had linked the tragedy to unprofessional approach to erecting the building.

He said that the initial structure was an old bungalow, lamenting further that the owner against professional guidelines, decided to add three floors on top of it, which led to its collapses.

Onwubiko promised that NSE would collaborate with security agencies to make sure that the culprits would not escape justice.

A sympathiser, Kissinger Ikeokwu, urged the state government to clamp down on quack engineers, adding that the spate of building collapse in the state were worrisome.

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War: China, India, Tajikistan, others to send troops to Russia



China’s People’s Liberation Army will send troops to Russia to participate in the “East-2022” drills.

The East-2022 is also called the Vostok-2022 and this was disclosed by the Chinese Ministry of Defense on Wednesday, according to CNN.

“China’s participation in the exercise is aimed at deepening practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of the participating countries,” the ministry added.

It further explained that the Asian giants’ participation would enhance the level of strategic cooperation among countries involved.

The exercise would further strengthen the ability to respond to various security threats, according to the defense ministry.

It, however, added that the exercise is unrelated to the current international and regional situation.

Other nations to join in the exercise are India, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mongolia and other countries.

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Buhari approves three orthopedic hospitals in Edo, Plateau, Taraba



President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of three additional orthopedic hospitals.

Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, made the announcement on Wednesday at the inauguration of the Primary Health Care(PHC) Leadership Challenge at the State House.

The event was organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in collaboration with development partners.

Ehanire disclosed that the President approved siting of the orthopedic hospital in three regions.

“North-East has one; the North-Central has one and the South-South has one; in Benin, Jos and Jalingo respectively”, NAN quoted him saying.

Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed said N471.9 billion had been disbursed to states under the $1.5billion World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme.

She added that all the 36 states had fully domesticated the fiscal reforms in their public financial management system.

Buhari approves three orthopedic hospitals in Edo, Plateau, Taraba

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BREAKING: Electricity workers call off strike



National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has called off its nationwide strike.

The decision followed an emergency meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Wednesday.

The minister’s spokesman Olajide Oshundun, announced that Ngige intervened in the industrial action.

NUEE Secretary General, Joe Ajaero, assured that electricity would be restored across the country tonight.

The workers shut down all Transmission Companies of Nigeria (TCN) offices earlier today.

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