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Akwa Ibom Church Collapse: Over 200 Deaths Recorded, Scores Injured as Governor Declares Monday & Tuesday Days of Mourning

BellaNaija.com

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Reigners Bible ChurchPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday night condoled with the families of the victims of the tragic collapse of the Reigners Bible Church International, Uyo, Akwa Ibom.

The President’s condolence message was made via his twitter handle.

President Buhari, who called Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom to commiserate with him on the tragic incident, asked him to convey to the people of the state “the deep sorrow felt by me, and by the entire country over this tragedy”.

“This evening I spoke with Gov. Udom Emmanuel to commiserate with him on the tragic collapse of the Reigners Bible Church in Uyo.

I asked the governor to convey to the people of Akwa Ibom state the deep sorrow felt by me, and by the entire country over this tragedy.

I pray that the souls of the deceased will rest in peace, and that the injured will experience quick recovery.
Any tragedy that affects any part of Nigeria affects all of us. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Akwa Ibom,” Buhari tweeted.

Ekerette Udoh, Personal Assistant to (Information) Gov. Emmanuel, in a statement issued on Saturday, said the governor was present at the Reigners Bible Church International when it collapsed.

According to him, the governor personally supervised rescue operations and evacuation of the injured to the hospital.

Udoh said the state government would constitute a high-powered panel of enquiry to ascertain the immediate and remote factors leading to the collapse of the church building.

Governor Udom Emmanuel at the scene of the tragedy

Governor Udom Emmanuel at the scene of the tragedy

The governor, in a Twitter message also said:

“I was present at the church during the incident and shared in the agony of the moment. Thereafter, I personally supervised rescue operations and evacuation of the injured to the hospital. I directed all emergency agencies of government especially the construction companies to be involved in rescuing people. I declare Sunday, December 11 and Monday, December 12 2016 as days of mourning in Akwa Ibom.”

According to PUNCH:

One of the aides, who rescued the governor, was said to have died at a nearby hospital where he was rushed to.

A security officer, who did not want to be named, said many dignitaries who accompanied the governor to the church also died.

PUNCH gathered that the Secretary to the State Government, Etekamba Umoren, also shattered his head in the incident. He was said to have been taken to an undisclosed hospital in the state.

PUNCH learnt that the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ekerette Udoh, also sustained serious injury.

It was gathered that construction works on a section where the ordination held were rushed because of Saturday’s event. The church has an estimated 10,000-seater capacity. Two cranes belonging to construction giant, Julius Berger, were used to clear the debris.

A clash was averted between the police and some residents as the latter tried to calm frayed nerves.

The state Commissioner for Works, Ephraim Inyang, refused to speak with journalists when he was approached. He ordered them to leave the place.

Yenime Ekpo, who is a mother to one of the victims, Tony Brown, 46, with six children, said they were worshiping in the church when the building collapsed.

She stated that Brown was trapped in the rubble for many hours along with others before she was rescued.

Saying she was unsure of her son’s survival, Ekpo noted that they were not members of the church but only went to witness the ordination.

Also, a student of the University of Uyo, Department of Communication Arts, Uduak Effiong, said she lost three of her course mates to the incident.

She stated that when the building collapsed, a pillar fell upon a woman and tore her body.

She said, ‘I saw over 100 dead bodies. These were the ones close to me. From my estimation, more than 300 people might have died as people came from other churches in all parts of the state, including government-sponsored praised singers with uniforms to attend the programme. For some of us that escaped, we only did by the special grace of God.’

Another student of the University of Uyo, Jennifer Thomas, told our correspondent that one of her friends, Blessing Linus, was trapped in the debris.

It was learnt that the iron used in holding the roofing sheet was twice heavier than the block used for the building. Security operatives cordoned the area and denied journalists access.

The Chief Medical Director of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Prof. Etete Peters, when contacted said:

We only lost one person in the hospital except those that were brought dead. In circumstances like this, we have been overwhelmed. We need help from government.

Many victims are in private hospitals and mortuaries scattered all over Uyo metropolis; we can’t really tell how many people have died so far. We have over 200 persons in the mortuaries. We do not have space as people are still being brought in.’

We have done our best to revive some victims. Right now, we have over 50 cases we are attending to. This is the first time we are witnessing such an incident.

The state’s chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), in a statement by its Chairman, Dr. Sylvanus Ukafia, called on churches to hold special prayers for the church today (Sunday).

“All churches should take special offerings for the medical assistance of all those injured and send same to the Reigners’ Bible Church. Church members who can are also urged to donate blood, where necessary, to those in the hospital and make other donations as may be required in the course of the treatment of those injured,’’ the statement added.

25 Comments

  1. UNCLE GWE GWE GWE

    December 11, 2016 at 8:12 am

    EVIL MEN DO LIVE WITH THEM?……

  2. Suwa

    December 11, 2016 at 8:14 am

    So sad!

  3. Serene

    December 11, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I was at an ATM queue when I saw ambulances and police vans carrying bodies and wounded. I asked if there had been an accident and slowly news started creeping in about the collapse at Reigner Chapel. It’s d strangest thing I’ve ever witnessed. Posters of the bishopric consecration is everywhere in town. Hmmm…

  4. Samuel Ogbonna

    December 11, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Hmmm so sad no matter wat gates of hell shall never prevail against d church of God

  5. xplorenollywood.com

    December 11, 2016 at 9:01 am

    OMG! How sad, haven’t we learnt anything? The building doesn’t even look like it was complete! My condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and speedily recovery to the people in the hospital.

  6. kay

    December 11, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Is high time we get our system right in this country. Not only put things right, but keep developing them for better.

  7. Oladuti Lawrence

    December 11, 2016 at 9:50 am

    May God grant the soul of the departed a peaceful rest. And the Families and friends the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.To the injured I wish them quick recovery. This is also a. clarion call to all of us that emphasis should be placed on quality control of all public buildings while Government is overwhelmed providing security we the citizens should play our part.I sympathise with all Nigerian is so sad

  8. Marlvina

    December 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Wow. I can imagine the extent of devastation of the church and shock many families are going through this festive season. May God console these ones and may the departed rest in peace. Very unfortunate.

  9. Ozyy

    December 11, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I first saw this on CNN breaking news, with a lot saying ISIS and BH. My heart goes out to the fam of the deceased esp at this period where we are all trying to be grateful, happy and hopeful. GOD will ease your hearts. BE STRONG.

  10. Paul Adeyemo

    December 11, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Sad news. When are we going to learn, have they arrested the Bishop, the site Engineers and the Architect. Until we do the needful, we keep on running around in circles. Who gave approval for the project at the Ministry of Lands and Housing. Why was the building project rushed in haste to accommodate the consecration of this said Bishop. The Bishop should be cooling off in detention if we are serious as a Nation

  11. Lateefah

    December 11, 2016 at 11:59 am

    When will we learn the meaning if safety first? You can’t rush a construction process! See as their rushing has wasted a lot of lives …This incident made me remember a time when my daughter’s school wanted to hold its Xmas party in an uncompleted structure with scaffolds still in place!!! I told the school management, at a PTF meeting, that holding the Concert at the venue was suicidal and that I definitely didn’t want to lose my daughter’s life nor mine! The venue was shifted to a safer place because the parents present supported me.. I already told my daughter that she won’t be in attendance if the venue wasn’t changed…I can’t shout o! Olorun maje kii a ri oran! R.I.P to the dead

  12. Deb

    December 11, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    I heard the bishop went ahead with his ordination at a safe place. BN pls confirm the story of a woman whom her husband left the kitchen& thereafter told her to make food for him while he took the kids outside waiting for an explosion which indeed happen.

    • Anoni Moss

      December 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Please don’t peddle falsehood. It goes to no gain. A man crying like a baby over loss of lives in his congregation, who in his right mind would continue even if it was a person that died, not to talk of people???

  13. Bey

    December 11, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    This is just sad.
    People should just learn that there is God everywhere.
    We as Nigerians often run from one church to another, one convention to another seeking what exactly?
    Church has now become a crase where we run from one reigning church to another.
    I don’t run from pillar to post when worshipping God.
    When I was on the Mainland I went to any Redeem church closest to me.
    Moved to the island and also went to Redeem close to me.
    Even in the UK it’s the redeem closest to me I go.
    Church programmes I don’t travel to another state in d quest to go for a programme. I choose one I can easily reach.
    Church is in my heart. And I can surely serve God at any Redeem I see closest to me. He is also present there .

    • skyhigh

      December 11, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      @ Bey i don’t see how a faulty or badly constructed edifice connects with your comment..

    • Bey

      December 11, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      In a bid for competition and who has the biggest church, some churches throw caution to wind and compromise on construction guidelines. This is part of what I meant to include in my rant.
      People travelled far and wide to attend this programme, in and ard Uyo and oda states. I doubt if they were prepared for that capacity of ppl along with any unforeseen circumstance.
      Why can’t we just serve God in our locality.
      RIP to all d dead. A lot of young students were involved.
      Apologies if I sounded insensitive with my ramblings earlier.

    • Anon

      December 11, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Are you sure you go to that church? It is Redeemed and not Redeem.

    • Cocolette

      December 11, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      What are you even saying Bey?

  14. Oneliners

    December 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    This is simply heartbreaking!

  15. Houstonian

    December 11, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Very very sad! That’s what happens in a country like Nigeria where things are done without solid laws in place to protect lives. Poor building materials from China! Who inspected the materials used and the building structure before opening that church? That’s common sense and fact and not enemies or witches stories!

  16. Ekoatheist

    December 12, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Thank God Im an Atheist.

  17. ada

    December 12, 2016 at 2:38 am

    no accountability; nobody in the church responsible?
    …all you will here is it is well. God gives and takes..absolutely ridiculous system..am just tired

  18. Frank

    December 12, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Another day another church tragedy, What happened to the synagogue incident.
    Did anyone go to jail? NOPE
    Was anyone held accountable? NOPE
    Was anyone penalized? NOPE
    Were the victims family compensated financially? NOPE

    And here we are again. Here’s my take on this.
    Why was the church allowed to conduct its affairs in a temporary structure that still had scaffolds?
    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can’t have too many people in a temporary structure that is still being held together by scaffolds?

    Is the church or anyone gonna be held accountable? NOPE
    Is anyone going to be jailed because of these ineptitude? NOPE

    Why should anyone be held accountable when the moronic Governor was even in attendance and barely made it out alive. Maybe if the moronic Governor had died, then maybe someone might have been held accountable. I really wish the moronic GOVERNOR had DIED. I really do wish he had died. Only in Nigeria does shit like this happen, and it’s Business as usual. Only in Naija. And Nigerians keep praying for God to come down from high heavens to help them. When God has giving y’all all the tools to help yourselves. SMDH

  19. raydex

    January 4, 2017 at 11:23 am

    we lost 100 ‘s or tenths of gud akwa ibom items all for lust of power n fame.what is really de essence of being a bishop than being a normal pastor. de architect and de contractor will now b blamed but Noone will k to investigate who ordered dem for quit and fast dilivery which might in turn birthed poor work.God help us

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