Disaster Averted As $14m U. J Esuene Stadium Sports Hall Collapses

What could have been a disaster was averted on
Good Friday in Calabar, Cross River State, when
the yet-to-be completed multipurpose Indoor
Sports Hall at the U. J. Esuene, Stadium collapsed. $14m down the drain. The collapsed Indoor Sports Hall at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar. The uncompleted indoor sports hall was one of the
facilities meant for the hosting of the National
Sports Festival, which could have been hosted by
the state. Eyewitness account had it that the structure
collapsed in the afternoon, a few minutes after
some people finished cleaning the debris from the
uncompleted facility. The incident happened at a time when the
children’s competition taking place in the stadium
was suspended to observe the Easter Holiday as
more than 2000 children would have been crushed
to death. The structure was supposed to be one of the
facilities to host the National Sports Festival by the
State, which was awarded for 14 million Dollars. Reacting to the unfortunate development,
Chairman of the State’s Sports Commission, Mr
Orok Duke, blamed the incident on the contractor
who besides not completing the job after being
fully paid 14 million Dollars upfront, still used
substandard materials. The Chairman said, the stadium was awarded by
the immediate past administration and has been
under construction for over two years. “What I have discovered is that the contractors to
this project have used substandard materials and it
is showing because this structure has been here
for not more than three years but what we should
note is that this structure was erected before the
advent of Prof Ben Ayade’s government. “And in keeping with our policy of trying to
reposition sports, I had asked for permission to go
after the contractor, but my principal, the
governor had said he does not want to be
distracted. We should cut our losses and move on
because he was still focusing on hosting the National Sports Festival. “The most frightening thing is the discovery of
these substandard materials which means this was
a tragedy waiting to happen. “If it hadn’t happened now, maybe it would have
happened when we had a full house with a lot of
athletes. “Being Good Friday, I can say that God just
intervened because a lot of people would have
been killed, especially now lots of children come to
the stadium. This structure was supposed to be
here for over 200 years. So we are really stunned
about this development. “The original design of the indoor sports hall had
two ovals. So money was given for two ovals, but
he started work on one and could not even
complete it. Even at that, substandard materials
were still used. It is only in Cross River that sundry
contractors would walk in, cheat us and walk away without anyone going after them. It is sad
for us”, Mr Duke said. Mr Duke further called on relevant agencies to
thoroughly look into the matter and act
accordingly in order to serve as a deterrent.

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