Reigners Bible Church Collapse: Investigations Reveal Shocking Outcomes
Anxiety is mounting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State over the outcome of investigations into the Reigners Bible Church Collapse.
The state government had set up a Commission of Inquiry to unearth the remote and immediate causes of the Reigners Bible Church building collapse which happened on December 10 2017.
The Commission headed by Justice Umoekoyo Essang (retd) commenced its fact-finding on the controversial tragic event and has so far unearthed shocking revelations.
Although the Commission has applied for extension of time, reports say controversy still lingers over the exact casualty figures.
So far, about 11 witnesses, mostly from the building profession who earlier submitted their memorandum to the Commission, have testified.
Among the testifiers include principal witness and General Overseer of the collapsed Church, Apostle Akan Weeks; Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE; and the Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA.
Also testified are Chief Medical Director of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Prof Etete Peters; Nigeria Institute of Building, NIB; Nigeria Institute of Architects, NIA; Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong; Etido Ekerete Udoh, a staff of UCCDA and Fintel Safety Limited.
Investigations have revealed that the church building did not have an approved plan by the UCCDA.
Although, the church’s General Overseer alleged that he personally gave documents and N300,000 cash to one Mr. Effiong Akpan, Head of Development Control, UCCDA to assist with the process.
Mr. Akpan, also a Pastor with the Dunamis Church in Uyo admitted receiving the funds, but said it was for a “personal transaction” therefore the church was not given any approval.
He denied receiving the money as fee or on behalf of the UCCDA.
UCCDA officials say the Reigners Bible Church collapse building site was designated by the state government as “erosion-prone” and “Green Area” since 2000.
Reigners Bible Church Collapse: Shocking Revelations Emerging
Meanwhile, a press statement by the Acting Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Dr. Beulah Ofem, submitted thus:
“It is pertinent to state categorically that the collapsed church building site was not supposed to have been developed as the area was exclusively declared a conservation area which is erosion-prone.
“Thus we did not expect professionals from the built environment to be involved in the development of such a structure in that area without declassification and due approval from the governor of the State.”
The statement further added:
“Available official records show that the said development was carried out outside the ambit of the law as several contravention and stop-work notices dated March 6, 2013, July 16, 2014, March 1, 2016, July 20, 2016, and demolition marking/notice issued to the developer of the project on August 16, 2016 were blatantly ignored.”
The outcome of investigations from the Commission of Inquiry is still being awaited even as the Commission has requested another extension of the deadline as tension mounts in Uyo.