By ETIM ETIM
NNPP Governorship candidate in the State, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe Monday morning visited the site of the collapsed four-story building along Iman Street, Uyo and sympathised with victims.
Senator Udoedehe, pensive and reflective but warmly received by neighbours and hundreds of other people who came to see things for themselves, expressed sympathy to the victims and outrage at the calamity that befell the people.
‘’First of all, my sympathies to those who perished in this place, and those who lost property. This is very sad. The government must apprehend the contractor or the builder and the government officials who gave approval to this type of shoddy job’’, he said.
‘’This is one of the reasons I will create a Ministry of Uyo Capital Territory to supervise buildings and prevent such calamities in future’’, he added.
Three people identified themselves as neighbours to the collapsed structure, one of whom owns a tailoring business.
One of them who did not disclose his name lamented: ‘’All my sewing machines are gone. They came under the collapsed concrete’’, he told the governorship candidate, sobbing.
A lady said the building collapsed minutes after she stepped out of her house to a salon. ‘’Only God saved me’’, she lamented.
A man sobbed continuously, saying that all his property were buried in the rubble and ‘’the only thing I have is what I am wearing now’’.
Moved with compassion, Udoedehe offered the victims whose homes and small businesses were destroyed when the building came down, a huge sum of money.
He said: ‘’This is a token of my support to you, just to offer immediate succor. I call on the state government to do something to ameliorate your sufferings’’.
Soon after he arrived the scene at about 10.15am, Udoedehe, a son of the soil, looked around the environment and made some reminiscences. ‘’This neighborhood still looks fairly the same as it was in those days. Rev. Uma Ukpai used to live up there’’, he said, pointing at a blue-painted building. ‘’Yes Sir’’, some neighbours chorused in affirmation.
By then a large throng of people had gathered around him, chanting ‘’our next governor, incoming governor, you’re a good man…’’.
The familiarity of the neighbourhood was also striking to me. In the ‘70s, I lived not far from that site with my mother and siblings.
The owner of the property is said to be a medical doctor living outside the country