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Gov. Udom Emmanuel Narrowly Escape as Over 200 Die in Collapsed Church

It was indeed a tragic Saturday for all of Akwa-Ibom people as over 200 persons lost their lives when the main auditorium of Reigners’ Bible Church Int’l Inc, along Uyo Village Road, Uyo, the state capital, collapsed during service.

The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, narrowly escaped death, suffering minor injuries when the building came down. Sources said it took the efforts of the governor’s security officers to whisk him away to safety.

The governor was in the church attending the ordination of the church’s Presiding Pastor, Bishop Elect Akan Weeks, when the building gave way few minutes before offering period.

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.crush5

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

Nigeria Newsday 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.

Mrs. 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.

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.

He said about 200 persons were brought to the hospital dead, adding that the hospital had never prepared for such an emergency.

In its reaction, the state government said a panel of enquiry would be constituted to ascertain the immediate and remote factors leading to the collapse of the church building with a view to forestall a reoccurrence.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary also noted that persons found to have compromised professional standards in the construction of the building would be sanctioned.

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