A quack engineer who built the four-storey building that collapsed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital, in September 2022, killing one person and leaving five others severely injured have been arrested by the police in the state.
The suspect, Felix Anietie Udoh, was one of the 96 suspects arrested between July and August 2023 by the Akwa Ibom State Police Command.
This was disclosed by the state Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi, while parading the suspects at the police headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia in Uyo.
The police boss said, “Recall that on the 17th of September 2022, a four-storey building situated at No. 3 Iman Street, behind Zenith Bank, off Aka Road, Uyo, collapsed, leading to the death of one Favour Chukwuemeka Okoro, while five persons were rescued.
“The alleged site engineer, one Felix Anietie Udoh of Felixzity High Technology Limited, fled. On August 7, 2023, the suspect was arrested by the anti-robbery squad of the command. On interrogation, the suspect confessed not to be an engineer but a builder.”
Speaking with journalists, the suspect said, “I’m a trained builder; this (collapsed building) started in 2020 when we worked up to the first decking and there was a waterlog in the compound. The owner of the building came to Nigeria. I told him that the water was soaking the foundation and that we should sand-fill the place and concrete the compound, but he said it was not in the contract agreement that I was trying to impose additional costs on him.
“In 2021, we were on the third decking when I drew his attention again and told him that the water that was in the foundation would weaken the foundation and cause cracking. He said he would do that when he finished the work. So in 2022, when we were on the fourth floor, that was when the incident happened.”
On why he continued with the work despite the sign that the building may collapse, he said the owner of the building threatened to deal with him decisively if he abandoned the work.