Editorial Team

Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent

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    Sunday, 11 December 2016

    A’Ibom: Govt agencies play hide-and-seek game on dead victims

    Government agencies seem to be playing hide-and-seek game on the actual number of people killed or injured when a church building collapsed, Saturday afternoon in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, south-south Nigeria.

    The media reported Sunday that that about 100 people on the average died in the disaster, while scores were critically injured. The media figures range from 50-200 dead casualties.  

    But, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Sunday afternoon said that only six persons were killed and 115 others injured in Saturday’s church collapse in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.

    Sani Datti, head, media & public relations for the emergency rescue agency said in an updated statement issued in Abuja that “conducting a 360 degree search at the scene -both in and outside the church – about 115 persons were injured”

    His words: “No one is currently left under the rubble as those affected had since been evacuated.”

    Independent recalls that Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom state escaped death by the whiskers when The Reigners Bible Church building, located at Km 1, Uyo, collapsed Saturday morning.

    The tragedy occurred during the consecration of Pastor Akan Weeks as Bishop of the church, where the media Sunday various figures on the number of persons either killed or injured by the collapse.

    Few hours after NEMA released its report, Murtala Mani, Akwa Ibom state police commissioner said 27 people died and 37 others injured when the uncompleted Reigners Bible Church collapsed on Saturday in Uyo.

    Vicnuel notes that this was the first official figure to be released about the tragedy and debunked speculations that as many as 60 or 120 died in the incident.

    Mani told the News Agency of Nigeria Sunday that the casualty figures were collated at the end of evacuation exercise late Saturday.
    His words: “For now, we can confirm that 27 persons died during the church building collapse on Saturday”.

    “We have concluded rescue operation but we are monitoring the situation to see what happens further,” Mani said.

    The victims evacuated from the collapsed church along Uyo Village Road near Government House,were receiving treatment at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, St Lukes Hospital, Ibom Specialist Hospital and Lifecare Hospital.

    The state Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Aniekeme Uwah, said that 22 bodies were deposited at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.

    Uwah, who could not confirm the total number of deaths in other hospitals, said that he had mobilized all medical practitioners in the state to be part of the rescue operations.

    He said that it was not possible to identify the number of government officials and clergymen involved in the casualties because the focus of rescue operation was on saving lives.
    Governor Udom Emmanuel had declared a two-day mourning in a broadcast to the people on Sunday following the unfortunate incident.
    The two-day mourning began Sunday and would end Monday with flags flown at half-staff in all government establishments across the state.
    Emmanuel also declared a solemn assembly on Tuesday afternoon at the end of the mourning at Government House to pray for the victims of the incident.

    The governor on Saturday narrowly escaped unhurt as the church collapsed while he was there.

    The governor was the special guest of honour at the bishopric consecration service of the founder of the Reigners Bible church, Apostle Akan Weeks.

    A visit to the church on Sunday showed that people were still thronging the scene of the collapsed church to catch a glimpse of what happened on Saturday though the premises were locked.

    Security operatives were also seen in large number at the premises to prevent possible riot from the aggrieved persons, who lost their dear ones.

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