Tension enveloped Asaba, Delta State capital, following the partial collapse of a two-storey building at the multiple sports complex of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, where some persons were reportedly injured.
Three persons reportedly died in the incident but the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, said no one died but that three were injured.
Meanwhile, three journalists who arrived the scene of the incident were beaten up by hoodlums on the orders of Tonobok Okowa, Chairman, Delta State Sports Commission.
Vanguard learned that those injured were working at the building site, and that they were immediately taken to a hospital.
Part of the two-storey building, which is under construction in preparation for the 21st National Sports Festival, NSF, to be hosted at the stadium from November 28, reportedly collapsed around 10a.m.
Public Relations Officer, Delta State Police Command, DSP Bright Edafe, said the building did not collapse, explaining that it was one of the roofing bars that slid off of the track.
Reacting to the development, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said no loss of life was recorded in the accident which occurred at the construction site of the indoor sports complex of the stadium.
Aniagwu said the accident was caused by misalignment of the crane by its operator, which led to the heavy duty equipment crashing on the wall of one of the floors.
According to him, contrary to reports of loss of lives, only one person sustained minor injury and has since been treated while other workers have also returned to site.
Aniagwu said: “Right behind me is the premises of the indoor sports hall under construction at the Stephen Keshi Stadium.
“The accident was caused by the crane operator, who couldn’t properly align the lift while trying to take some very heavy duty equipment up.
“It fell on the wall, which led to a crash of a part of it. “One person sustained minor injury and has since been treated and they have returned to work. The workers are very much on site and we are moving with speed.
“The unconfirmed reports of loss of life are not true and anybody saying the Stephen Keshi Stadium has come crashing down is also peddling the wrong information.
“As a matter of fact the Stadium is undergoing some renovation work ahead of the National Sports Festival.
“The contractor has assured us that in less than 48 hours the part of the wall that collapsed on account of the misalignment of the crane would be fixed.”
Meanwhile, the first team of journalists including Paul Osuyi of the Sun, Monday Osayande of Guardian and Amaechi Okwara of Blueprint, who went to access the level of damage, were beaten up and bundled out of the stadium on the orders of the Chairman, Delta State Sports Commission, Mr. Tonobok Okowa.
Mr. Okowa, who doubles as Co-Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the festival tagged Asaba 2022, reportedly ordered boys around to confiscate the working tools of the journalists.
The boys, who were initially reluctant to carry out the order, forcefully took out the reporters after manhandling them.
“Take them out of this place. Journalists are not needed. Are they still here? Collect their gadgets and bundle them out of here,” Okowa roared.
At the time of filing this report, top government officials were seen moving in and out of the stadium.w