All attention has been focused on the human misery and mangled bones crushed in the crashed 7-storey building in GRA 2 area of Port Harcourt. No single mention is being made of other tragedies of this tragedy involving over 100 lives.
For starters, has anybody cared about the financing of the building and what happens to the investment and the investor? It was whispered the other day that the owner of the building has other buildings in the Garden City, one of them a popular hotel in Trans-Amadi by Odili Road. It was mentioned that he took huge loans to finance this crashed hotel project. It is obvious that he mortgaged the other buildings and hotel to build this one in the widest sense of elasticity of money.
Now, since the state government has announced seizure of the property (land), it means certificate of occupancy value has crashed to zero right in the hands of the financing bank. Also, the other houses and hotel which he must have mortgaged to raise funds would simply be claimed by the bank, and it may not even be enough. So, financial crisis must be brewing somewhere.
The man is said to have been arrested as ordered by the state governor. By this alone, a prolonged lawsuit is about to start, though nobody has been prosecuted in PH ever since houses began to crash in the Peter Odili days. It is likely this one would go same way. People get mangled in these crashed buildings but the investors escape with financial bruises only, though this one seems to be a very bad case.
Now to the main matter! Civil servants often want to go on strike especially for minimum wage, and they easily secure public support. The common man widely and wildly joins the strike and holler everyone to join. Even when the masses help to secure the desired minimum wage, do the workers give minimum services to the masses?
At one popular state government hospital in PH, you must sort at every desk to get attention, outside the official charges. At the court registry, ‘change of name’ affidavits of N500 each usually cost over N1000 to the same workers that were given minimum wage. Try drivers’ license, try international passport, try anything. You help the civil servants to fight the government, but the workers help the Govt to fight the masses. Head or tell the masses lose.
In the case of the collapsed building, hints indicate that the officials betrayed the masses by ensuring that no single regulation was obeyed. A probe panel would have to confirm Gov Wike’s assertion that the area was not allowed any house taller than four storey buildings. So, why did the officials who were to protect this rule sell out? The governor said no government official implicated in this will escape and the commissioner of urban has already resigned, so, why did the experts saddled with the task of ensuring that builders obeyed rules allow this investor to start building seven storeys? The panel may eventually hear how the approval jumped from four to seven floors. So, why did a public servant change this? The panel may also hear that the file was missing at a point; so why did they hide it only for the approval to jump from four to seven floors? It was gathered that when the commissioner could not understand what happened in these matters, he stepped aside so the other layers would be exposed. Every man there would now go and answer for himself.
Are these not the same civil servants the masses supported to win fat salaries and allowances? So, how have the masses benefited one bit from these cruel civil servants? So, the reward for all the support for all the minimum and maximum wages is death from wrong storey buildings and lack of protection? The trend is; Those to stop flood will fail, those to stop killers will fail, those to stop diseases will fail, those to stop election rigging will fail, those to stop smuggling at the borders will fail, everyone will fail, yet they all of them get minimum wage.
So, who is protecting the masses? Would it be better to crap the civil service and outsource all tasks to contractors and hold them responsible and save the N9Bn that Rivers State pays out every month to civil servants and the over N4 trillion that the FG pays out yearly to people who still allow all dangers to hit the masses? The day the Fruit Garden Market was burnt to ashes three months ago, the Fire Service refused to respond; why? They were on strike; but when they eventually called off the strike days later, they could not call off the fire because everything was gone. Yet, they collected their minimum and maximum salaries. Tragedy!
So, who truly is the common man’s friend? The workers betray the masses at every turn but they turn round to point at the governors and presidents as the ones killing the masses, and the common man agrees easily. Now, common people who trusted the civil servants are lying dead beneath the rubbles.