• No plan for mass burial –Akwa Ibom govt
From Joe Effiong, Uyo and Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
General Overseer of Reigners Bible Church, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Akan Weeks, said he was no longer interested in being a bishop,
Weeks, who is recuperating in an unknown hospital, in an interview on a private radio station in Uyo, also debunked speculations that he was enthoned at a secret location shortly after the collapse of the church building in which scores of people died. Governor Udom Emmanuel was among dignitaries that attended the event.
“Let nobody believe the speculation that I was enthroned as the bishop; the enthronement was cancelled completely and I am no longer interested in being bishop.
“Please, this is not the time to crucify me; I am still your brother. Reigners Church family, I am still your pastor. The enthronement was cancelled completely and I am not interested. Please let us rise and pray. I really sympathise with the departed souls. Once I am out of my hospital bed, I will come on air and we will pray together. I was also seriously injured. One of my legs was seriously damaged.”
However, the Charismatic Ministers and Bishops of Nigeria (ACMB) has said the bishopric consecration and enthronement would be performed soon. But when Daily Sun called the church on its official telephone number, a lady who identified herself as “a member of the church” said: “Papa has spoken his mind. He has made up his mind that he is not interested again. What they are trying to do is their business.”
Meanwhile, state government has denied an allegation that it was keeping the bodies in order to perform mass burial, stressing that government has no intention to mass bury the victims of the church building collapse.
“We don’t want to give wrong corpse to another family and cause more problems. At the moment, there are four corpses not identified at all by anybody; that is why we brought DNA experts to from Lagos to properly identify the corpses. The state government has spent hundreds of millions of naira so far in medical bills of the patients,” Ukpong said.
The government, however, confirmed that 218 people were injured in the Reigners Bible Church building collapse.
The state government, which released the figure through the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, during a press conference addressed by Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Public Affairs, Mr. Raphael Edem, said out of the number, 168 were admitted as in-patients; 50 were treated and discharged immediately as out-patients and 26 person have so far died from the mishap.
Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko has condoled with his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Udom Emmanuel over the incident. Governor Mimiko, through a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade said he received with shock the news of the Reigner’s Bible Church International building collapse and death of large number of worshippers in the church.
“Full of thanks to God for the escape of Governor Udom Emmanuel from the scene and others who escaped death,” he stated.
Mimiko also prayed for the repose of the souls of the victims of the accident and wish those who sustained injuries quick recovery.
“As I continue to thank God over your miraculous escape from the church while the building collapsed, the government and people of Ondo State commiserate with you and family members of worshippers who lost loved ones to the incident,” he said.