At least 50 people died or were seriously injured Saturday when a Church building collapsed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, several witnesses say.
The police is yet to give a figure hours after the incident occurred. A spokesperson told journalists who called in that rescue efforts were ongoing and she could not be certain of the number of casualties.
“The injured are still being taken to the hospital and some people who may appear dead may actually have just lost consciousness,” police spokesperson for Akwa Ibom, Cordelia Nwanwe, explained. He added that, “we have to wait for confirmation of status of all victims from the medical personnel before we can give any figure.”
But witnesses said they counted more than 50 people removed from under the rubble of the building and taken away in ambulances. They said many of those removed were clearly lifeless.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted rescuers as saying that over 60 victims had been removed from the debris.
The Reigners Bible Church, located along Uyo Village Road, was filled to capacity as its pastor was being consecrated as a Bishop, when the tragedy occurred.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, who was the special guest of honour at the event, escaped unhurt.
Witnesses say the governor was seated in the front row, while the building, which had been under construction, collapsed from the middle.