From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Police Command has reversed itself on the death toll recorded when Urua Ederebo Market, in Onna Local Government Area, the home country of Governor Udom Emmanuel, collapsed.
Briefing newsmen in Uyo, yesterday, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Codelia Nwawe said police have no documented evidence to certify anybody dead in the market incident.
“The police have no authority to certify people dead; only medical personnel has the right to do such. Preliminary reports, as at yesterday (Monday), about the Onna unfortunate incident, indicated that two persons died at the market building collapse. Let me clear the air that we do not have documented evident that anybody died in the incident as at today (Tuesday).
“Nine persons were actually hurt by the collapse of the wall of the market.
As I speak with you, evacuation is completed. Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong has evacuated all victims to the Ibom Specialist Hospital, in Uyo.
“Four of them, with severe injuries, will undergo surgeries at the same hospital while the other five are responding to treatment.
“We have to emphasise here that the injured were moved to the Ibom Specialist Hospital because of the sophisticated equipment at the hospital.
“This is the report we have from discreet investigations. If we have anything further, we will make ourselves available to you. There was no death incident from Onna,” the PPRO said.
She also dismissed insinuations that the police commissioner was under pressure from government to reverse his earlier statement to avoid creating more tension in the light of the controversy that trailed government’s claim on the number of casualty when the auditorium of a church collapsed in the state 10 days ago.
“We do not allow influence from anyone or organisation to curtail the job we do; it never happens, it will never happen because we have a commissioner of police who pays attention to details. Nobody will teach him the work he knows how to do best,” Nwawe said.
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Murtala Mani had while confirming the collapse of the market told newsmen that two women on whom the wall of the market stall directly collapsed, died while about 18 persons sustained injuries.