“My prayers are with the worshipers, affected families, Governor Okowa and the people of Delta State on this morning’s collapse of St. Paul Catholic Church.”
• Saraki condoles with church, state
Paul Osuyi, Asaba
An 11-year-old boy, simply identified as Jeffrey Jackson, yesterday, died in collapsed St. Paul Catholic Church building in Ugolo in Adagbrasa community in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State.
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Besides, about 15 persons were injured in the collapsed building which took place at about 7:00 a.m. when parishioners had just ended the morning prayers for the parish priest to commence the Sunday mass.
The injured persons have been rushed to different hospitals for medical attention.
It was gathered that the collapse was as a result of a new building being erected around the old one.
A witness and Vice Chairman of the church laity council, Daniel Agiri, said the incident occurred due to the collapsed of the foundation of a new structure to expand the existing 100-year-old building which has not been sand-filled.
He said worshippers had concluded rosary and morning prayers before the incident occurred, adding that the seminarian who was to assist in officiating the mass had just arrived and was yet to enter the church when they started to notice the falling of the walls.
“We were about to commence mass when we started noticing a crack in the wall of the building from the alter. The incident happened rapidly. We are happy that the seminarian who was to assist to officiate the mass has not started. The moment the building started falling, everyone started scampering for safety. We loss one person and 15 persons got injured.
“We have evacuated the deceased, Jeffrey who was a primary four pupil. My son’s leg was also broken in the process. Some of the injured persons are in their 80s. The doctor told us that they are in stable condition,” he said.
Agiri pleaded with the state government and the Warri Catholic Diocese to urgently erect a new building for them to worship, saying they were planning for their 100 years anniversary.
The state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has assured that the state government will undertake the medical treatment of the injured victims.
In an updated statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, the governor directed that adequate medical attention should be given to the survivors.
Meanwhile, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has commiserated with state government over the incident.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki also said he would continue to monitor the situation and help ensure all survivors receive necessary medical attention.
“My prayers are with the worshipers, affected families, Governor Okowa and the people of Delta State on this morning’s collapse of St. Paul Catholic Church. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide assistance to see that survivors are rescued and treated.
“Right now, we must all come together as Muslims, Christians, people of faith, and most importantly, Nigerians to provide necessary relief for the affected families and community.
“This tragedy affects us all and we join the Catholic community to mourn the deceased — even as rescue efforts are still underway,” Saraki said.