The 6-storey building before and after it collapsed yeaterday

One person was killed and another critically injured when an uncompleted six-storey hotel building collapsed at Nii Boi Town near Abeka Lapaz in Accra.
The deceased and injured persons were yet to be identified, and residents said the uncompleted structure was an annex of the Grand View Hotel owned by one Mr. Omari.

The Police yesterday arrested the contractor working on the project.
The disaster came on the heels of a similar one when the building housing Melcom at nearby Achimota collapsed, killing scores of people in 2012.

Residents in the neighbourhood had already raised concern about the state of the structure, pointing accusing fingers at the relevant authorities such as the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and others for not stopping work on what was obviously a dangerous venture.

?It was a disaster waiting to happen,? a resident had told DAILY GUIDE.

Indeed DAILY GUIDE had been working on the story when its attention was drawn to the building by some concerned residents a couple of weeks ago.
Earlier reports indicated that about five labourers working on the building were trapped inside the debris of the collapsed structure, and a rescue team made up of the military, police, fire service and NADMO, was at the time of filing this report yesterday, still working to save possibly trapped persons.

The deceased being carried to the morgue The deceased being carried to the morgue

The man who lost his life suffered a broken neck while the injured person had serious injuries on his legs.

A member of the rescue team was rushed to a nearby clinic after collapsing out of exhaustion early yesterday.

The collapsed structure was situated on the premises of the Grand View Hotel and between the Pasfedas Clinic and Links Gardens Hotel.

Prosper Dossu, a resident who witnessed the disaster, said the structure collapsed when work had reached the sixth floor, finally coming down, according to him, around 4:30am.

?Five of the workers lived in the uncompleted building and earlier before it collapsed one person came out to brush his teeth.

?At once, we heard a big bang followed by some dust in the air, and since there was little we could do, some of us immediately called the nearest radio station to announce it,? Dossu said.

Some residents at the scene Some residents at the scene

Residents? Concerns

Some residents who spoke to DAILY GUIDE said reports had been lodged several times with the police and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) about the location of the building, but nothing was done about it.

The site, according to Anthony Darko, a resident, used to be a depot for Guinness Ghana Limited, before it was turned into a warehouse.

?All of a suddenly, we saw the warehouse being converted into a storey building by Mr. Omari. We have lodged several complaints to the AMA several times but all to no avail. The construction also caused inconvenience to most of us but because the owner had the backing of the authorities, we could do nothing,? he added.

Omari Speaks

In an earlier interview with Mr. Omari, before the collapse of the structure, he dismissed the concern of the residents.

Sounding cynical, he said those complaining would come seeking employment when the project was done.

He confessed that he had no building permit, but added that processes were underway for him to get one, with the help of the Landlords Association in the area.

He denied using substandard materials for his project, stressing that he would not invest in a project which would collapse one day.

Some residents said Mr. Moses, the contractor, used blocks for the construction even before they were dry.

Alfred Oko Vandepuje at the scene Alfred Oko Vandepuje at the scene

Mayor Booed

Residents accused the Accra Metropolitan Assembly of receiving a bribe of GH?40,000 from Mr. Omari after the contractor was ordered to stop work.

In view of this, the residents did not take it lightly when Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the Accra Mayor, visited the scene with his entourage.

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, the Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP C.T Yohuno and other senior police commanders were at the scene to help in the rescue operation.

The Minister of Defence, Mark Woyongo and his entourage, also visited the scene upon hearing the news.

The Member of Parliament for Okaikoi North, Elizabeth Sackey, who was also at the scene, blamed the AMA for the collapse of the six-storey building.

According to her, the AMA, whose responsibility it was to ensure that the structure was built to the required specification, had failed in its duties.

She therefore requested that the building inspector at the AMA responsible for overseeing the construction of the collapsed building be made to explain the circumstances under which the building collapsed.

Search For Owner

The MP told Joy FM that even though infrastructural development was necessary, proper procedures should be adhered to when putting up structures in the city.

The Deputy Works and Housing Minister, Samson Ahi, who also visited the site, told journalists a search was underway for the owner of the building.

According to him, depending on the outcome of the technical committee?s investigations, the owner of the building might be made to face the law.

By Linda Tenyah & Jeffrey De Graft

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