A good Friday disaster was averted in Calabar, as the uncompleted $14m multipurpose sports hall of the U. J. Esuene Sports Stadium collapsed in the Cross River State capital.
The facility, which construction started in 2014 by Henley Brecon and Mayfield Ltd., was supposed to be one of the facilities to host the National Sports Festival, but later abandoned after a huge amount of money was expended on it.
At the site, a section of the uncompleted sports hall had collapsed and it is feared that if nothing urgent is done, most part of the structure may give way, as the quality of work and materials is called to question.
An eyewitness said: “you can see those piles of woods over there. They were taken out from the building in a bid to clean the place, but the cleaners had barely stepped out, before we heard a loud crash and everything came down. It was really fortunate and I would say God just saved them. It is also fortunate that today (Friday) being a public holiday, most people, especially children, did not come to the stadium, else we would have had a major disaster on our hands.
Students who were participating in a competition escaped a fatal fate because the competition taking place in the stadium was suspended to observe the Easter Holiday. According to Orok Duke, more than 2000 children would have been crushed to death.
The Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Victor Agwu, whose office supervised the construction of the structure in the previous administration said he was not in town, hence could not make any comment.
But the Chairman of the State’s Sports Commission, Otuekong Orok Duke said: “what I have discovered is that the contractors used substandard materials because this structure has been here for not more than three years.
However, we should note that the structure was erected before the advent of Prof Ben Ayade’s government.