Church Collapse: Death toll rises as Gov. Emmanuel commiserates with victim’s families

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*Sets up investigative panel

Following collapse of Reigners’ Bible Church in Uyo, in the early hours of Saturday, which led to scores of death and many injured, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has commiserated with the families of victims.

The Governor, who was in the church for the ordination of the founder of the church, Apostle Akan Weeks, as Bishop, when the sad event occurred was visibly shocked, after he escaped death by the whiskers, while more than 80 persons at press time were reported to have lost their lives.

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The Church ceremony was also attended by high profile government officials and political class.

Meanwhile, rescue operations were ongoing even as the state government has set up a panel of enquiry to unravel the cause of the incident.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Ekerete Udoh and made available to newsmen said, the Governor had appealed for calm and prayers for the injured as the situation was being reviewed.

The statement reads, ‘‘Government of Akwa Ibom State wishes to commiserate with the families of those affected by the collapse this afternoon, of a church building along Uyo Village road. Collapsed structure of Rune Reigners Bible Ministry, a new generation Church located on KM 1, Uyo.

‘‘His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel was present at the church service during the incident and thereafter personally supervised rescue operations and the evacuation of the injured to the hospital. He has directed that the full resources of the State Government be made available for the treatment of those who were injured in the unfortunate incident.

‘‘A high-powered panel of enquiry is being constituted to ascertain the immediate and remote factors leading to the collapse of the church building with a view to forestall the reoccurrence of any such incident and bring to book any persons found to have compromised professional standards in the construction of the building.

‘‘In the meantime, the Government of Akwa Ibom State is appealing to all citizens of the state to remain calm and pray for those injured while avoiding undue speculation as the situation is being given the best possible attention.’’

More than 50 corpses have so far been deposited at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital morgue as rescue operations led by the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Iynang-eyen was still on.

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