Business at Development House in the city centre came to a standstill yesterday afternoon after a security alert was issued and tenants asked to vacate the building immediately.
This was prompted by what the building’s management called “a swelling” that led to a crack on the ground floor. An evacuation notice was issued and people warned not to use the elevators. There was confusion as scared people run down the stairs for dear life.
The 14-storey building, owned by the government-run Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), was left empty within 10 minutes. This attracted crowds of curious passers-by who could be seen milling around the building, located on Moi Avenue near the populous Railways terminus.
According to the caretaker, who identified himself only as Mutiso, a pressure build-up in the ground floor caused the swelling, which cracked and was noticed immediately by the security guards at the entrance. Addressing visibly shocked tenants at the entrance of the building, Mr Mutiso said a safety audit had shown that the building was fit for occupation.
“The swelling has been caused by pressure build-up in the ground, forcing the floor to rise, causing the crack. The building is safe and you can now go back to work,” he said. Some went back to work while the cautious one went home. More people were scared given an earlier warning by the US government that it had enough evidence about Al-Shabaab targeting government offices as well as major buildings in Kenya.
Those who went back to their offices underwent tight security checks. The building houses Nakumatt on the ground floor, AFC head offices, a number of colleges and other private businesses ilcuding Business Today, which publishes this website. “I can’t go back there,” said a student at a college there. “I’m so scared. I can’t risk.”