One construction worker has been reported dead and another in critical condition after a section of multi million dollar Asaba drainage project being handled by Chinese firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), collapsed.
BigPen Online learnt that while one of the workers simply identified as Okon Bassey was buried underground as he collapsed into the manhole until he was pulled out half dead, another whose identity is yet to be established had a fatal excavator injury that may lead to amputation.
The victim, Bassey who got crushed under the rumbles of the collapsed manhole at a section of the drainage at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) main gate was later confirmed dead after he was pulled out of the trench.
The incident of the injured worker happened separately on Thursday, 22nd February 2018 while the unfortunate death of the other worker occurred on Saturday, 24th February 2018.
Both incidents have instilled fears and discomfort among the workers who are dismayed over the frequent tragedy being experienced in the course of the construction work.
A co-worker to the deceased who pleaded anonymity and also an eye witness to the sad incident, told AsabaMetro that, Mr. Bassey was with them when they went to dismantle the boards of the manhole at the FMC main gate.
He said that they were doing the work when suddenly the top soil which was soft due to the heavy down pour the previous night, collapsed on him, crushing him through the manhole into the drainage and by the time they got to his rescue, he had lost his left lower leg completely.
Sadly, he said, Bassey who just joined the team few weeks ago, was skeptical about coming to work that very day and died few hours after the incident.
According to the source, another worker who also pleaded anonymity said that, two days ago, one of their carpenters lost his foot to an excavator, just after the excavator was used to lift him and a generator from the depths of the drainage.
The worker is now undergoing treatments as sponsored by CCECC, he said.
The source also lamented that the payments they receive is also not co-measurable to the labour they put in, as they have to work round the clock all week, stressing that some of them were paid N13,400 for a month while some lucky ones got as much as N25,000 a month which was still too poor for the nature of their jobs and its possible hazards.
He stressed that they had made an appeal to the management of the company for an upward review of their salaries or they will stop work, but the company insisted that they should continue work pending an upward review of their salaries soonest.
All efforts by the newspaper to speak with the Chinese Supervisor on ground to get the company’s view on the growing numbers of work hazards and the alleged poor payments, was futile.
The newspaper further reports that since the commencement of the drainage project two months ago, both commercial transporters in the State capital and the construction workers have had their fair shares of the fatal accidents leading to amputations and an initial death of a CCECC worker which was shielded from the public.
The multi million dollar project is being executed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to ease out the problem of flooding in the state capital and its environs.