Accra, Dec 11 (IANS) About 60 worshippers at the Reigners Bible Church International at Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State in the West African nation of Nigeria are feared dead after the church building collapsed on them Aearlier on Saturday, state owned News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has reported.
Other reports say the death toll may be higher than what is being reported.
NAN said, rescue workers are battling to evacuate victims who may Abe trapped under the collapsed building with some government officials suspected to be among those trapped.
NAN said, the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, who was among the worshippers as a special guest of honour at the elevation and consecration service of the founder of the Church, Apostle Akan Weeks to the rank of a Bishop, at the time of the collapse of the building escaped unhurt.
Later in a broadcast on state radio, Governor Emmanuel said, the State Government will bear the medical cost of all those injured.
“We note that we have never had such a shocking incident in the history of our dear state. Government will, therefore, 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,” he said.
Governor Emmanuel appealed to all citizens to remain calm, pray for the injured and avoid undue speculation as the situation is being given the best possible attention.
Two years ago, a guesthouse on the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) collapsed at Ikotun-Egbe, a suburb in the Nigerian commercial capital, Lagos killing over 115 people, of whom some 84 of them were reported to be South Africans nationals.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at [email protected])