Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State narrowly escaped death on Saturday after the building of Reigners’ Bible Church collapsed during service – killing no less than 200 persons.
The incident, it was learnt, occurred along Uyo Village Road, Uyo, the state capital.
The Punch gathered that the governor was in the church attending the ordination of the church’s Presiding Pastor, Bishop Elect Akan Weeks, when the building yielded few minutes before offering period.
Sources said it took the efforts of the governor’s security officers to whisk him away to safety with the governor sustaining a minor injury.
Ubong Mboho, an evangelist, who managed to escape the collapse unhurt, told Premium Times that he witnessed the governor’s aide sacrifice his life to save the governor.
“He (the governor’s aide) was standing close to the governor. I saw him push the governor away from danger when the building started falling,” said Mr. Mboho.
This is just as the Chief Medical Director of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Prof. Etete Peters, said that about 200 persons were brought to the hospital dead.
He said: “We only lost one person in the hospital except those that were brought dead. In circumstances like this, we have been overwhelmed. We need help from government.”
“Many victims are in private hospitals and mortuaries scattered all over Uyo metropolis; we can’t really tell how many people have died so far. We have over 200 persons in the mortuaries. We do not have space, as people are still being brought in.
“We have done our best to revive some victims. Right now, we have over 50 cases we are attending to. This is the first time we are witnessing such an incident.”
Also speaking, Uduak Effiong, a survivor, gave an estimated death toll of 300.
The survivor said: “I saw over 100 dead bodies. These were the ones close to me.”
“From my estimation, more than 300 people might have died as people came from other churches in all parts of the state, including government-sponsored praised singers with uniforms to attend the programme. For some of us that escaped, we only did by the special grace of God.”