PROP­ERTY Mud­slide kills two in Maitama con­struc­tion site … FCTA or­ders in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Daily Trust - - PROPERTY - By Mustapha Suleiman

Mud­slides, also known as de­bris flows or mud­flows, are a com­mon type of fast­mov­ing land­slides that are caused by dis­tur­bances in the nat­u­ral sta­bil­ity of a slope. They can hap­pen af­ter heavy rains, droughts, earthquakes or vol­canic erup­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA), mud­slides can oc­cur at any time of the year, re­gard­less of weather con­di­tions. And they can strike without any prior warn­ing signs.

Also, poor con­struc­tion and reck­less mod­i­fi­ca­tion of land - such as not drain­ing an area prop­erly be­fore build­ing on or near it - can also cre­ate the con­di­tions ripe for a mud­slide.

Most of the deaths recorded in mud­slides were due to peo­ple be­ing buried by de­bris flows from slopes.

Though mud­slide is not com­mon in Nige­ria, the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) ex­pe­ri­enced one last Tues­day evening in which two con­struc­tion work­ers died.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at (Plot 3333), Mis­sis­sippi Street, Maitama, a high­brow dis­trict of Abuja.

FCT min­is­ter, Malam Muham­mad Musa Bello, vis­ited the scene of the in­ci­dent on Tues­day night to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion. Ac­com­pa­nied by the FCT Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Dr. Ba­batope Ajakaiye, the min­is­ter, de­scribed the in­ci­dent as un­for­tu­nate and di­rected the FCT De­vel­op­ment Con­trol to thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate to as­cer­tain what re­ally went wrong that led to the death of the two men and re­port back im­me­di­ately.

He said, “The FCT Ad­min­is­tra­tion is go­ing to in­ves­ti­gate thor­oughly the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent and en­sure that this kind of ugly sit­u­a­tion does not hap­pen again in the FCT.”

The min­is­ter also di­rected the Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (FCDA), Engr. Adamu Is­maila, to im­me­di­ately move into the area to pro­vide re­me­dial ac­tion to pro­tect the in­fra­struc­ture there.

He said the FCTA had com­menced re­me­dial ac­tion at the site, adding that mea­sures have al­ready been taken to avoid a re­peat of such ugly in­ci­dent.

Part of the mea­sures, he stated was for all con­trac­tors work­ing at the site to tem­po­rar­ily stop work and pro­vide re­tain­ing wall as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

Other mea­sures, the FCT Ad­min­is­tra­tion has put in place, in­clude the en­gage­ment of a rep­utable con­struc­tion firm (Habib En­gi­neer­ing Com­pany Lim­ited) to im­me­di­ately take over the col­lapsed site (Plot 3333) and re­store the em­bank­ment to prevent fur­ther ero­sion and pos­si­ble col­lapse of the Mis­sis­sippi Road.

Bello also di­rected all other devel­op­ers work­ing at the site to con­struct em­bank­ments for all the plots to prevent fur­ther col­lapse and for the staff of both de­part­ments of De­vel­op­ment Con­trol and En­gi­neer­ing Ser­vices to con­tin­u­ously in­spect and mon­i­tor work in progress at the site.

He fur­ther in­structed that ad­e­quate safety mea­sures be put in place to pro­tect the work­ers and that man­ual ex­ca­va­tion must be stopped im­me­di­ately on that site.

The site engi­neer was said to have been ar­rested by the po­lice fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent.

In an­other visit to the con­struc­tion site, the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, FCT Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, Al­haji Ab­bas Idriss, called on res­i­dents to place em­pha­sis on safety is­sues, es­pe­cially where it af­fected lives.

Ab­bas said he was shocked that peo­ple could be around where an ex­ca­va­tor was work­ing; say­ing the safest method to adopt would have been for the labour­ers to fin­ish work on site be­fore the ex­ca­va­tor was moved in.

The Act­ing Con­troller, FCT Fire Ser­vice, Mr Julius Opetun­sin, while speak­ing on the res­cue op­er­a­tion, said he re­ceived a call from the Search and Res­cue Unit in­form­ing him of a col­lapsed walk­way.

Opetun­sin gave his ac­count of the in­ci­dent thus: “Labour­ers were work­ing on site while ex­ca­va­tion was go­ing on. The ex­ca­va­tor ap­par­ently struck a cen­tral sewer pipe which got bro­ken, the walk­way caved in re­sult­ing in a land­slide that cov­ered three of the work­ers on site.’’

The act­ing con­troller said two se­ri­ously in­jured work­ers were res­cued from the rub­ble and were re­ceiv­ing treatment at Abuja Clinic.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions showed that the de­vel­oper of the build­ing has a build­ing plan ap­proval from the De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Depart­ment.

The ap­proval was granted to Simag Con­struc­tion Com­pany for the site lo­cated on plot 3333, AO6 Maitama Dis­trict.

It was learnt that the de­vel­oper who had pre­vi­ously stopped work­ing due to a ‘Stop Work’ no­tice served on them by the FCT Ad­min­is­tra­tion through the De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Depart­ment, mo­bilised to site to erect a re­tain­ing wall, prob­a­bly to fore­stall what even­tu­ally hap­pened.

A source told Daily Trust that the area where the mud­slide oc­curred was wa­ter­logged, and was sup­posed to be a green area.

The source added that apart from the area be­ing wa­ter­logged, the to­pog­ra­phy was be­low road level and was wrongly al­lo­cated by the past FCT Ad­min­is­tra­tion for res­i­den­tial pur­poses.

When Daily Trust con­tacted the FCT De­vel­op­ment Con­trol‘s Act­ing Di­rec­tor Hamza Tayub, he de­clined com­ment.

The scene of the mud­slide in­ci­dent at Mis­sis­sippi Street, Maitama dis­trict of Abuja

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