By Adonis Amadi
Victims of the collapsed building at Oforola in Owerri West Local Government Area, Imo State, were warned before the disaster happened, according to reports reaching Christian Voice.
A source close to the family of one of the victims said that the late Marcellinus Okpomechila had called the landlord to inform him of the cracks on the walls.
According to the source, the landlord readily asked the tenants to run for dear lives.
However, Okpomechila tried to salvage some property, having brought out his motocycle and Ghana-must-go bag.
It was on his last attempt that the building reportedly collapsed on him and his family.
Residents of Owerri, the Imo State capital, last weekend, woke up to news of four buildings that collapsed within one week and within Owerri West Local Government Area.
The buildings were located at Umuguma, Oforola, Ulakwo and the road leading to the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO).
The Deputy Governor of the State, Prince Eze Madumere, promptly visited the scenes and eventually issued a statement announcing immediate suspension of all town planners in the local government area and full investigations into the cases, which claimed lives and injured others.
The statement also said that those found to have caused the tragedies would be prosecuted.
At Oforola, our reporter was on ground to witness rescue operation where a woman and wife of one of the dead victims, Mrs. Felicia Okpomechila, was heard crying for help from under the rubble.
She was rescued by sympathizers who rushed to the scene. Her husband, Mr. Marcelinus Okpomechila, was not lucky as his phone was heard ringing inside the rubble unanswered.
According to reports, 11 persons slept in the house on that fateful day. But others escaped through the windows while the four, Marcellinus Okpomechila, his wife, a son and a daughter, were trapped, with only his wife surviving.
The family, which hailed from Mbaise, were said to have lived in the community for 30 years, farming and trading on firewood and other items.
Christian Voice was told that the building was planned as a bungalow but was midway converted to a storey building.
The landlord, who was said be handling the construction of the building himself, was not available for comments.
Leader and regent of Oforola Autonomous Community, Prince Augustine Obichere, who rushed to the scene said that the incident happened at 4.00.a.m on Saturday but news got to the palace of the traditional ruler at 8.00a.m during a meeting of the cabinet.
The meeting was put off and the cabinet members rushed to the scene.
Youths of the community made spirited efforts to rescue the victims.
Prince Obichere appealed for assistance from government and other agencies to the victims.