Sunday, 11 December 2016

At Least 60 killed as church collapses in Nigeria

The roof of the Reigners Bible Church in Uyo, capital of the Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria, collapsed Saturday, killing at least 60 people, and perhaps many more, according to local media and officials.

Some reports put the number much higher, with many people are believed to be still trapped under the debris.

Hundreds of people on Saturday were inside the Reigners Bible Church including Akwa Ibom state governor Udom Emmanuel, who survived the disaster.

The church was still under construction and workers had rushed to complete it for the ordination, witnesses said.

Emmanuel said there would be an investigation into whether safety standards had been compromised.

Pictures from the scene show collapsed metal girders and corrugated iron sheeting.

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed "deep sorrow" over the incident.

A rescue official initially spoke of 60 bodies recovered from the debris, while the state-run Nigerian News Agency said "between 50 and 200" could have been killed. But a hospital director said on Sunday that at least 160 died in the disaster. The toll could mount as a crane removes the debris.

An unnamed survivor quoted by Nigeria's Channels TV said: "Normal church service was going on."

"It was about 20 minutes after the governor arrived. Suddenly, the roof fell on worshippers. The governor was quickly rescued. But others were not that lucky."

Building collapses are relatively common in Nigeria, mainly due to the use of sub-standard materials and the violation of building regulations.

In 2014, 116 people died when a multi-story guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Sunday 11 December 2016


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