The Akwa Ibom Police Commissioner, CP, Murtala Mani, has confirmed that 27 people lost their lives when a church building collasped during a church service in Uyo on Sunday. Rumours had earlier said, the death toll could be up to 200.
This Akwa-Ibom state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel (who was in the church building when it collapsed) had announced that the government would set up a high-powered panel of inquiry to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the disaster and bring to all those who were found culpable to book.
Various state governors had sent in their condolences to Governor Emmanuel Udom, as well as the entire people of Akwa-Ibom state, regarding the tragedy.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Godwin Obaseki of Edo State were among the governors who sent in their condolences yesterday.
One of the eyewitness, Mrs. Eno Etim, who spoke to vanguard, said she had God to thank for her life.
Mrs Eno said: ”I was inside the church and everything was going on normally. A lady was called to lead the praise and worship when the governor entered. After the governor came in and the church welcomed him, the next thing was praise and worship. As that was going on, we heard the church roof breaking and started falling on people. Before we knew what was happening, the building fell on us. I do not know how I got to the hospital.”
“That was all I remembered. I do not know how I got to this hospital. It was after a while that I regained consciousness. I still feel pain in my back and all over my body. But I am grateful to God because I am not better than those that lost their lives in the place.”
Mrs. Eno, added that she wasn’t a member of the church but rather, a member of the United Intercessors Network.
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Murtala Mani, had earlier disclosed that those affected were currently receiving treatment in three hospitals, while stating that only 27 people have been confirmed dead.
The commissioner said: “For now, we can confirm that 27 persons died in the church building collapse on Saturday. We have concluded rescue operations but we are monitoring the situation to see what happens further.”
The victims evacuated from the collapsed church on Uyo Village Road, near Government House, are receiving treatment at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, St Lukes Hospital, Ibom Specialist Hospital and Lifecare Hospital.”
State Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Dr. Aniekeme Uwah, said 22 bodies had been deposited at University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, UUTH.
Dr. Uwah, who said he could not confirm the total number of deaths in other hospitals, said he had mobilised all medical practitioners and all hands were on deck to save as many victims as possible.