The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has on Sunday ordered the immediate arrest of the contractors and engineers that constructed the Reigners Bible Church International Inc, Uyo, which collapsed on Saturday, killing scores of people.
“They should be made to answer certain questions so that the state would be able to get to the root cause of the matter” the governor was quoted.
A similar statement was made by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, for a probe of the disaster. Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Sunday, Saraki commiserated with the people of Akwa Ibom over the incident.
He also called for investigation into the cause of the collapse.
While praying for speedy recovery for those still receiving medical attention in hospitals, he called for “urgent and thorough investigation to determine both the remote and immediate causes of the building collapse. “I believe that such an investigation, if sincerely done, will help us to guard against unnecessary waste of lives, injuries and damage to property in the future. My heart goes out to all the victims, the Christian community in Akwa Ibom State and the entire people of the state.”
Some survivors of the church building collapse have also given first-hand accounts of how the building collapsed on Saturday. One of the survivors, Eno Etim, said the building collapsed shortly after a lady was called to lead the praise worship. According to him, there was no alert prior to the monumental disaster that was waiting to happen.
Another eye witness said “I was inside the church. Everything was normal; there was no problem. A lady was called to lead the praise worship session; the governor came in shortly after that. As the praise worship was going on, the building fell and I didn’t know how I got here. The iron fell on my back forcing me to fall on the ground with my face down. I don’t worship in the church. I worship in the United Intercessors Network, which Bishop Akan Weeks also belong to. I don’t live in Uyo. I came all the way from Oron.”
Another victim, 22-year-old Emen Akpanitiat, said the building came down while the congregation was dancing and singing preparatory to offering collection. She said, “It was when the governor came and people started dancing. I’m in pains. The doctor said I’m going to be moved to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.”
How Governor Emmanuel escaped – Aide
A personal assistant to the governor on media, Essien Nduese, has revealed how the governor narrowly escaped from the disaster. Nduese said an iron bar fell and shattered the seat the governor was sitting on.
Debunking the rumour that one of the governor’s aides was killed in the disaster, Nduse revealed that it was the man, who was handling the microphone during the event that was killed.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Udoh, and the Chief Press Secretary to the governor Mr. Ekerette Udoh, are in the hospital.
“Ekerette has a dislocation in his left leg; he also has internal pains. He is better now though he is still in the hospital.
“The governor did not run; he simply saw the falling iron coming, it stopped half way, then he walked out.”
According to Nduese, the governor said this at Qua Iboe Church, Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, on Sunday.
He explained that the governor urged Akwa Ibom people to continue praying for the families of the deceased worshippers and refrain from negative comments that could further worsen the pains of the bereaved families.
He said that the governor had declared a two-day mourning period in memory of the departed and for the speedy recovery of the survivors.