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Thursday, December 15

Church collapse: A’Ibom debunks mass burial rumour

The Reigners Bible Church International Incorporation, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, after it collapsed… on Saturday. Photos: Etim Ekpimah

John Alechenu and Etim Ekpimah

The Akwa Ibom State Government has said it has not carried out mass burial for the victims of the December 10 collapse of Reigners Bible Church building in Uyo as being speculated.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, said during a press conference in Uyo on Wednesday that families of the victims of the collapsed church building had besieged different hospitals for the corpses.

 He added that the rumoured mass burial for victims almost resulted in their families attacking medical personnel in different hospitals.

 The commissioner stated that corpses would be released to their family members as soon as the police concluded its investigation.

 Ukpong put the official figures of those who died during the incident at 26. He noted that government had gone to different hospitals to compare the figures.

 “After making the rounds of all the hospitals concerned, and in consultation with officials of the health and security services, who were directly involved in the rescue operations, the figures we have been able to reconcile indicate that 26 people passed on as a result of this incident. There are few unrecognised cases of not more than three persons and we are working to reconcile these figures as soon as possible.

 The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Murtala Mani, who was represented by the Police Public Relations Officer, Cordelia Nwawe, stated that the police would only act on the matter after investigation had been concluded and the culprit named.

 On the actual number of those dead, Mani said it was only doctors that could certify.

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress has condoled with the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the tragedy.

The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, conveyed the party’s condolences in a letter sent on behalf of the party’s National Working Committee on Wednesday.

The letter read in part, “On behalf of the myself and members of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), let me convey our deep sadness and sympathies to you and the people of Akwa-Ibom State in respect of the unfortunate collapse of the Reigners Bible Worship Centre, Uyo on Saturday 10th December, 2016 that resulted in the loss of several lives and injury to many.

 “Once more, please accept the deep sympathies of our party and be assured that our prayers and thoughts remain with you, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State.”

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