Abuja building collapse survivors: ‘Church’s now home’; ‘I was with friend on first floor’

Abuja building collapse survivors: ‘Church’s now home’; ‘I was with friend on first floor’

Abuja Building Collapse: We now live in church — Pregnant victim

By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

Survivors of Wednesday night’s building collapse in Abuja have narrated their ordeals, calling on the government and good-spirited individuals for support.

One of them, Charity Amadi, a pregnant woman, said they lost all their belongings and are now squatting in a church.

Another, Abdulsalami Modibbo, said he was in his room on the first floor when the buiding came down.

On same first floor, Mr. Garba Nagoma was visiting a friend when the disaster happened.

FCTA steps in

Meanwhile, 31 of those rushed to various hospitals for medical attention have now been discharged after the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, wrote off their medical bills.

However, officials said four victims were still receiving treatment at various hospitals as at Saturday afternoon.

Officials of the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat had visited the four hospitals attending to the victims to ascertain the level of compliance with the Ministry of FCT directive to give them free treatment as well as the health conditions of the patients.

At the Asokoro General Hospital, where eight patients were taken, seven had been discharged and one, Abdulsalami Modibbo, still taking treatment.

The Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital, Mrs Aishatu Tenebe, confirmed the figures.

Survivors speak

Modibbo, who said he had not paid any amount for treatment following the minister’s declaration thanked him for the support, which he described as “life saving”, adding that health workers were taking good care of him.

He said: “I was in my room on the first floor when the building collapsed on Wednesday night. I was trying to help myself when a boulder fell on my leg, causing a fracture.

“I am happy with the prompt response of government agencies who evacuated us and took us to the hospital for treatment, and now they have offered to pay all our bills. I am truly grateful.”

Another victim Mr. Garba Nagoma, at Cedar Crest Hospital Gwarinpa, was elated when he learned that his hospital bills would be settled by the FCT minister.

Nagoma said his brother had already paid N500,000 to the hospital as initial deposit

“This is good news knowing that my bills would be paid by the government. I am really grateful for the support,” he said.

The victim said that he visited his friend who resides on the first floor of the building when it caved in.

“We were having a conversation when one of our friends alerted us that the building is about to collapse.

“We dashed to escape but we were late. The building collapsed on us while we were still on the first floor, and I survived with a fracture”, he added.

The Group Managing Director of the Hospital, Dr. Kingsley Ikpe, said Nagoma was the only victim who was brought to the hospital and assured that the hospital would provide the needed care for the victim.

On his part, Shehu Mohammed, another victim receiving treatment for head and eye injuries at the Garki Hospital, equally lauded Wike for coming to their aid.

Mohammed said he owned a tailoring shop in the building and was still working in the shop when it collapsed.

A medical officer at the facility, Dr Winifred Esite, said 14 victims were brought to the hospital and that while 12 were treated and discharged one died.

Church’s home

Amadi, the pregnant woman said her family has had to put up with life in such unbearable conditions.

Amadi, a mother of two, said they were currently taking shelter at Cherubim and Seraphim Church around the Area 2 Shopping Centre, Abuja, adding that they lost everything.

“I am glad that the government has come to our aid because the hospital asked me to be coming for a check up to ensure that my unborn baby and I are fine,” she said.

Speaking at the end of the visit, the HHSS boss, Mr. Malan Noel Haruna, said he and his team visited the hospitals on the directive of the minister to settle the medical bills of all those affected.

“We are here in compliance with his directive. We have gone round some of the hospitals and we have seen their conditions on the instruction of the minister to ensure that they are well taken care of.

“So far, four victims are still receiving treatment in hospitals, 31 have been treated and discharged, while two have died.

“We have directed the victims to write the bills and forward them through the FCT Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, to the health secretariat for onward submission to the Permanent Secretary.

“The quality of services we have seen is very excellent as testified to by the victims themselves,” he said.

Also speaking, Head of Search and Rescue at FEMA, Mr Oyegun Moses, explained that of the two fatalities, one died in the wreckage of the collapsed building, while the other died at Garki Hospital.

On the pregnant woman, Mrs. Amadi, Moses confirmed that she would be visiting the hospital for observation to ensure that her unborn child was safe and healthy.

He assured that any medical bill incurred during the visits would be taken care of by the government.

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