Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has confirmed that he was inside the collapsed building at the Reigners Bible Church when the structure gave way killing ‘over 50’ and injuring several others.
Mr. Emmanuel said he escaped unhurt, confirming narratives by witnesses who said Saturday that the building collapsed 30 minutes after the governor and his entourage arrived the event venue.
He said despite being unhurt he remained traumatized after the incident.
“I was present at the church during the incident and shared in the agony of the moment,” he said.
Witnesses had told PREMIUM TIMES that the governor and other dignitaries escaped unhurt because they were seated at the ‘high table’ in front of the building while the building caved in from the middle.
In a state broadcast Saturday, the governor said after the incident, he “personally supervised rescue operations and evacuation of the injured to the hospital.”
“I directed all emergency organizations, agencies of government and corporate organizations especially the construction companies to be involved in the exercise,” the governor said. “They acted promptly and I commend their sense of patriotism and gallantry.”
Mr. Emmanuel also announced that his administration would set up “a high-powered panel of inquiry to ascertain the immediate and remote causes leading to the collapse of the building with a view to forestalling the recurrence of such incident and bring to book persons found to have compromised professional standards in the construction of the building.”
The government, he said, would bear the medical cost of all those injured.
Read Mr. Emmanuel’s full broadcast below.
TEXT OF A BROADCAST BY GOVERNOR UDOM EMMANUEL COMMISERATING BEREAVED FAMILIES ON THE TRAGIC INCIDENT AT REIGNERS BIBLE CHURCH INTERNATIONAL, UYO.
Fellow Akwa Ibomites, Today we had an unfortunate incident when the roof of Reigners Bible Church Int’l, Uyo collapsed while service was going on.
I was present at the church during the incident and shared in the agony of the moment.