(Updated) Church building collapse; Governor Udom escapes death, over 50 killed

Chidi Samuel

Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel escaped unhurt while over 50 whorshipers lost their lives in a church building that  collapsed in Uyo, the  Akwa Ibom State, capital. The church, Reigners Bible Church, situated at Village Road, Uyo, was in the middle of a church service where the resident  pastor and overseer was being consecrated a Bishop when the building collapsed.

“Pastor Akan Week was being consecrated today so the programme was holding inside the Church when suddenly, the whole building collapsed,” an eye witness narrated to on lookers. According to him, renovation work was on going to upgrade the church capacity because of the expected high turn of guests for the Pastors consecration.

Giving an account of what happened, one of the survivors told newsmen: “Normal church service was going on. Everything was normal. It was about 20 minutes after the governor arrived. Suddenly, the roof fell on worshippers. The governor was quickly rescued. But others were not that lucky. It is very unfortunate”.

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The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Etekamba Umoren and the chief press secretary to the Governor were said to have been injured and taken to an undisclosed hospital in the state for treatment.

Reacting to the tragedy later, Governor Udom Emmanuel expressed the government’s condolences to families of the victims and hinted that his administration will investigate the cause of the tragedy.

“It is a sad day for me. My condolences to families of the victims. I advise everyone to be calm,” he said.

“Accessing this in the face of somebody who is not an engineer, we see a lot of defects in the construction. We will try as much as possible to bring those who were careless about this to book.

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“I will make contact immediately both the Nigerian Society of Engineers and  a team of engineers here in Akwa Ibom to assess whether there were pure negligence on the part of those that did this,” Governor Emmanuel told reporters.

He said it was a devastating incident, wondering why it should happen at this time.

“Actually, it is not a good thing and we are really devastated that this could happen.

“Be rest assured on the part of government, we will do everything possible to make sure that this will never happen again in this state,” he added.

The governor also paid a visit to many of the victims who are being treated at the Ibom Specialist Hospital.