Panic ensued over the weekend when an event centre collapsed during a burial ceremony in Ijero-Ekiti, Ekiti State. Six people were seriously injured in the resulting stampede, while cooked food ,drinks ,bottled water, gift items, and personal effects of guests littered the ground.
The building known as F and G Event Centre, located along Ijero-Ido Ekiti road, with over 250 occupants, had its roof and walls receded around 4pm, while being used as a reception venue for a burial ceremony. Injured victims were rushed to a hospital in the metropolis for medical treatment.
The unfortunate incident also led to many sustaining bodily wounds as occupants scampered out of the rubbles for safety, though, there was no record of death.
The development also left the building auditorium and surroundings littered with spilled foods being served to the guests; broken bottles, shoes, male caps, female wigs and headgears.
The State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, yesterday, sympathized with the victims of the incident.
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Mrs. Monisade Afuye, on the spot assessment of the building collapse and Ijero General Hospital, where some victims were receiving treatments on Sunday morning, grieved over the incident, saying the accident was disturbing and saddening.
Addressing the sympathizers, Afuye, directed all relevant agencies of the government to ensure that all the public buildings of that nature are supervised and certified at every stage to avoid unwarranted fatalities.
She said the incident could have been averted, if proper building scrutinies and compliance with specifications were carried out by government agencies, warning that such situation should not be allowed to reoccur in the state. She assured that the government would map out strategies to make emergency management equipment available in all the local governments to respond to any alarming situation.
“Let me sympathize with the victims of this devastating incident. Nobody prays for bad thing to happen, but we need to be proactive in preventing occurrences of this nature, rather than being reactive .
“We thank God that no life was lost. But as a responsible government, we won’t wait until people die before taking actions that can safeguard their lives. That is why it is most expedient that all government’s agencies must be responsive to their duties all the time”.
The Permanent Secretary, Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency (EKSEMA), Mr. Olajide Borode, who was on the entourage, said the men of Fire Services were immediately deployed to the spot for a rescue operation as soon as he received a distressed call.
“We want to appreciate our people for commencing the rescue operation through evacuation of the occupants out of the building before the Fire Service men came to join them.
“The Ekiti State Bureau of Special Project will be here to do Integrity test on the building to ascertain whether it can be salvaged or be demolished outright”.