A church building has collapsed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with 90 people feared dead. The Reigners Bible Church was filled to capacity because its pastor was being consecrated as a Bishop, when the tragedy occurred, witnesses said.
“Pastor Akan Week was being consecrated today so the programme was holding inside the Church when suddenly, the whole building collapsed,” one witness said. The witness said the Church was being renovated and upgraded because of the expected high number of guests on Saturday. .
“Many people are buried under the debris as emergency workers continue rescue exercise,” he said. Governor Udom Emmanuel was expected to attend the occasion, but, sources said he was not at the church when it collapsed. .
Many victims have been taken to various hospitals and mortuaries in the town. A police spokesperson who sounded emotional when contacted by phone, said she could not speak on the matter immediately. “You need to be here to witness it, there is so much confusion,” she simply said.
The State Governor, Emmanuel Udom Escaped death by the whiskers today at the Reigners Church as he was steathily whisked out of the premises by his security personnel. The building collapsed and killed atleast 90 worshipers with many others trapped in the rubble.
The Governor was at the venue of the incident attending the consecration of Pastor Akan Weeks as a Bishop on Saturday, when the church building collapsed.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Etekamba Umoren, was said to have sustained an injury and was taken to an undisclosed hospital in the state. It was also gathered that the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ekerette Udoh was also injured in the tragedy.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Murtala Mani, who confirmed the incident, said he could not ascertain the number of those dead or trapped in the building.
I don’t know how many people have died from the collapsed building or those trapped,” he said.
According to Channels Tv, an eyewitness said they were already inside the building when they noticed that the upper part of the building was caving in.
We saw the building coming down and everybody started running for safety,” she said. Governor, who escaped death, said a panel would be setup to investigate the incident.
According to him, many worshipers are in critical condition
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.
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 number of persons killed in the incident have not been confirmed by any agency. After the building came down, rescue operations were launched to remove the debris.