‘Save Our Lives’ – Abakaliki Residents Cry Out Over Collapsing Mud Houses

Residents of Abakaliki metropolis in Ebonyi state have cried out to the state government to save the community from what they describe as ‘impending disaster’ over old mud houses located at Kpirikpiri area of the state that are at the verge of collapse.

One of the mud houses, situated adjacent Kpirikpiri Police Station in Ebonyi state, have stayed over seven decades with no single renovation or maintenance since its erection, causing major cracks on the building.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the landlord, Mr. Maximus Sunday Mgboh despite being alerted severally on the impending disaster, paid the ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude to either renovate the mud house or erect a new modern building.

“He(the landlord) has simply shown no concern as if it’s not his business despite several appeal and attempt to get him to at least renovate or maintain the property if he cannot construct a new one from scratch”, one of the residents in the area, who craved anonymity, told Igbere TV.

When our newscrew visited the area over the weekend, tenants were seen still living and occupying the mud house located at House 47, Old Enugu Road. It was the same case for other sub-standard buildings located in the area.

At least five sub-standard buildings at the verge of collapse were captured by this Newspaper all located within the same area, behind the Kpirikpiri police station.

One of the sub-standard buildings is currently being used as a day-time ‘Beer Parlor’ or Bar, while the other four are rented out and presently occupied by tenants as residential houses.

Findings by our correspondent further revealed that one of the affected five buildings is owned by one Mr. Christopher Nwamini, now deceased. It was not immediately clear who is now in charge of tenancy.

Besides the private property in the Abakaliki metropolis, the Kpirikpiri police station is also not in good shape as it was vandalised and torched by hoodlums during the recent EndSARS protests that swept across the country.

Speaking with 9NEWS NIGERIA on the matter, a resident of the area who did not want his name to be mentioned, appealed to the David Umahi led Ebonyi state government to come to their rescue.

He said government must save them from disaster as occupants of the affected buildings have pleaded with the landlords of the houses to renovate the buildings all to no avail.

“As it stands now, the media is our last hope having failed to get the owners’ attention to do the needful. We are, therefore, calling on the state government to come to our aid because we have pleaded with the landlords of these buildings to renovate them but all our pleas fell on deaf ears.”

Pointing to one of the buildings, the resident added: “You can see deep cracks on the walls especially this one built with mud blocks, if something drastic is not done immediately, a major disaster may not be averted as the building caves in.”

Another resident, who identified himself as Mr. Sunday Nwangele, told our correspondent that government must do all it can to save lives by sealing the mud houses and other sub-standard buildings till they are either renovated or replaced.

“A stitch in time saves nine”, he warned. “Government must now seal the buildings and evacuate the occupants with an ultimatum to the owners’ to renovate or have their certificates of occupancy revoked and buildings demolished.”

9news Nigeria news crew also discovered substandard buildings at the back of the EDEMAX Filling Station, opposite the Kpirikpiri Police Station.

Investigations also show that the buildings at the back of the EDEMAX Filling Station have stayed over five decades and are in terrible condition but still serve as residential buildings.

Meanwhile, a Building/Construction expert, Engr. Obasi Nwabuike, while adding his voice on the need to have the buildings replaced, said mud houses have a lifespan of approximately 30 to 35 years before they crumble.

He said any mud house which is over 30 or 35 years need to be replaced to avert any major disaster while making reference to the affected buildings in the Abakaliki metropolis.

Mud brick is a natural building material made by shaping bricks out of a mixture of sand, mud and/or clay with water and some fibrous organic matter (like hay, straw, sticks or manure).

The bricks are usually cast in a frame to ensure that they are a consistent size and shape. Once they have been cast, the bricks are then air-dried for up to a month.

Mud brick buildings have a low resistance to water, so some manufacturers add bitumen into the mud mixture to help with waterproofing.

Mud brick and adobe are some of the oldest building materials known, with evidence of mud brick buildings having been used as far way back 7000BC.

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