Home » 15 died, seven injured as Ochanja mkt building collapsed in Onitsha

15 died, seven injured as Ochanja mkt building collapsed in Onitsha

by Akeem Adeyemi
15 died, seven injured as Ochanja mkt building collapsed in Onitsha

No fewer than 15 people have been confirmed dead as three blocks of a two-story building in Ochanja Central Market, Onitsha collapsed at about 7 pm on Monday.

The collapse of three huge blocks of the ongoing construction of shops is estimated to accommodate about two hundred shops at the former “oduigbo” section of the market known for the sale of perishable items like tomatoes, vegetables, and other condiments.

IdanNews gathered that last year traders and owners of shops at the section of the market were forcefully denied their shops which they had owned for decades. They were promised new shops as soon as the new market shops were completed.

The traders mainly widows had wept openly saying they could not trust the government and their promises as wealthy and highly placed individuals of the State had hijacked the entire process as shops had already been allocated to rich traders reneging on the government’s earlier promise to consider the original allottees.

However, on Monday night three gigantic buildings still undergoing construction collapsed with about a score trapped under the debris.

The Chairman, Ochanja Central Market, Onitsha, Chief Bonaventure Muo who was seen at the site of the incident expressed regret, adding that he lacked words to express his sadness.

Sir. Clifford Ilodiuba, a major stakeholder in the market urged Gov. Chukwuma Soludo to look into market leadership and how leaders are appointed, stressing that many buildings that were earlier marked for demolition in the market by the Physical Planning Board two years ago are still standing.

He said that the Governor had good intentions but lamented that some market leaders were sabotaging the efforts of the Governor.

It was, however, gathered that five bodies were retrieved from the debris of the collapsed structures on Monday night, while seven injured survivors were rushed to nearby private hospitals.

On Tuesday afternoon ten dead bodies were retrieved by the rescue team as more rescue equipment arrived at the scene.

Gov. Soludo, who arrived at the scene at about 11:45 am expressed deep regret over the unfortunate incident. He disclosed that the collapsed structures were not duly approved by the State Government through the Physical Planning Board.

15 died, seven injured as Ochanja mkt building collapsed in Onitsha
However, the claim did not go down well with sympathizers who had gathered at the scene. Some sympathizers accused the Governor of having a hand in the construction and allocation of shops through his aides even when the structures were yet to be completed.

A former Vice-chairman, of Ochanja Central Market, Chief Nwabueze Umeh who identified himself as the “first son” of the market accused the market Chairman, Chief Bonaventure Muo of conniving with some influential people in government both at the Local Government and State levels to rip-off the poor traders financially.

He said that market leadership should be about people who have a huge stake and knowledge about the market.

He called on the Governor to probe the entire market leadership for a positive result. He, however, expressed sympathy for the deceased families, urging both the State Government and the market to assist the families.

Member representing Onitsha South in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Fred Ezenwa who lacked words to express his sadness over the incident called on the State Government to immediately swing into action to identify the remote cause of the building Collapse.

He called on the bereaved families to take heart and await government investigation.

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