At least 100 people were feared killed today when a church building collapsed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Capital, during the consecration service of its senior pastor to a Bishop.
The church building belonging to Reigners Bible Church International, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, collapsed around 11am killing scores and wounded several others.
According to an eyewitness, the incident occurred during a special service: “Bishopric Enthronement”, to mark the ordination of its resident pastor, Akan Weeks.
As at the time when the building collapsed, eyewitnesses say the church was filled to the brim and the incident occurred shortly after the offering session, a development that brought the event to an end.
Governor Udom Emmanuel alongside some of his commissioners who were billed to attend the function were on their way when the building collapsed.
The governor was seen helping in the rescue operation as many worshippers were trapped under the debris as rescue team evacuate the dead and those that were injured.
An eyewitness said: “This is a disaster. Why today? People have been rushed to hospital while many have been trapped under the structure.”
Security agents comprising men of the Nigeria Police Force: Nigerian Army; Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and officials of the Federal Road a Safety Corps, FRSC, were seen condoling off the area to save the lives of those they were injured.
Also officials of the Red Cross were seen attending to some of the worshippers with minor injuries.
When contacted, the FRSC’s Spokesman in the state, Mr. Godsgift Uwen, said officials of the commission were currently at the scene of incident.
When asked the number of casualties resulting from the collapsed building, Uwen said he was not competent to speak on that but ordered Sunday Nation to get the reaction from the Police.
He said: “I am not competent to give you information on this matter for now. I will advise you call the Police Public Relations officer.”
Speaking on the development, the State’s Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Cordelia Nwawe, could not confirm the number of casualties.
Update: 60 rescued from debris – NAN
Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom on Saturday escaped unhurt as the Reigners Bible Church International building in Uyo collapsed during a worship session.
Sixty casualties were however rescued from the building.
The governor was the special guest of honour at the consecration service of the Founder of the church, Apostle Akan Weeks, as a bishop.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Reigners Bible Church International building, situated on Uyo Village Road, was still under construction when it collapsed.
Its iron rafters caved in as the service was ongoing.
A witness told NAN that the building collapsed 30 minutes after the governor arrived.
‘’When we were about taking offering, 30 minutes after the governor came in, the building caved in. Security operatives took him away,’’ he said.
When NAN correspondents visited the scene, security operatives had cordoned off the entire building while trying to rescue those trapped in the debris.
Another witness, Miss Uduak Effiong, told NAN that a female victim’s bowel was ripped open by the tragedy.
Effiong, who is a communication arts student of the University of Uyo, said that she lost three friends to the incident.
Mr Joseph James, who also witnessed the building collapse, told NAN that the Founder of the church, Apostle Akan Weeks, was also brought out unhurt.
Some rescue team members said that over 60 casualties had been removed from the debris.