There is tension at the site of the collapsed three-storey shopping complex building in Abuja as rescue operations were concluded on Saturday with no other corpse or living person found by the rescuers, while residents and relatives of the victims insisted that people are still trapped under the rubble.
Armed mobile policemen deployed to the site of the incident have fire teargas canisters to disperse the angry mob.
The combined rescue team left the site at 8:00am on Saturday without evacuating any survivor or dead bodies believed to have been trapped beneath the rubble.
As at 8:00am the rescue operation was stopped as officials of FCT Emergency Management Agency, FCT Fire Fighters and Julius Berger were seen moving away their earth moving equipment from the site of the collapsed building.
But some of the relatives and sympathisers have accused the rescue officials of not doing enough to enable them evacuate the victims who they believed are still trapped under the rubble.
They explained that the debris of the first floor have not been totally removed and that there are chances that people are still underneath the rubble, particularly the food vendor and others workers.
It was gathered that relatives of the trapped victims were able to contact some of them through their mobile phones but could not reach them again.
A brother of one of the trapped victims who identified himself as Mohammed said that his brother was still under the rubble and that he spoke to him on phone few minutes after the incident but could no longer reach him.
“I have a brother here. Yesterday we called our brother and we are talking to him under ground and he was complaining of heat. But this morning we called him but we did not get him. So government did not do anything and our people are under the ground,” Mohammed said.
Some of the people who rescued the initial seven people said that the rescue was carried out by them and not the officials. They stated that the emergency officials were not on ground when the site engineer who broke his legs was evacuated. They maintained that they spoke to the engineer and he told them that those that were in the building were about 18, including his workers.
The Acting Deputy Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation FCT Emergency Agency Management Authority, Florence Wenegieme, said that their officers have gone to the hospital to ascertain number of people who are still alive receiving treatment and those who have died.
According to her, “As at yesterday (Friday), only one person died, the other people whom they claimed were in the building, we have been searching since last night and we have not be able to find any corpse or anybody alive. So we cannot say that there are still people inside because we have searched right deep into the building but we could not find anyone.”
As time of filing this report the tension is getting high as people have flared up but armed policemen who were deployed to the site are trying to calm the fray nerves of the crowd.