Ordination of founder and church pastor Akan Weeks as a Bishop ended in tragedy as the Reigners Bible Church International located at Uyo collapsed on a Saturday, burying hundreds of people in the rubble where an estimated of 160 Christians were killed.
The governor of the state of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel, was also inside, participating in the consecration when the roof caved in together with his several officials and members of the office. Fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries.
"It happened all at once. The faithful had been singing and dancing. It sounded like rain and the roof caved in, and it all happened very quickly," Aniekeme Finbarr, a media associate of the governor, said.
Emmanuel feels deeply for the tragedy since Cabinet members and officials that were with him in the church were included with the injured who are being treated in hospitals, according to CNN.
"There were trapped bodies, parts of bodies, blood all over the place and people's handbags and shoes scattered," 27-year-old computer analyst Ukeme Eyibio said in a telephone interview. He helped gather survivors of the crash who were streaming to get outside and others who were on the ground. Workers suppressed them to help people trapped inside because of the unstable situation of the establishment.
While waiting for the crane to lift the debris from the bodies, Eyibio helped a man who was trapped under a steel girder. "I rushed to my car, got out the tire jack and used that to get the beam off his legs," he said.
"We managed to get him out, but we saw others dying all around us," he added. "I'm so traumatized I could not sleep last night for the horrors repeating themselves in my mind."
Mortuaries were suddenly faced dealing with dozens of bodies. A statement from Nigerian Medical Association stated that 21 people arrived at the University of Uyo teaching hospital were already dead. It also stated that two of the 23 people being treated died because of loss of blood and complications, according to Nigeria Today.
Governor Emmanuel ordered to find and arrest the contractor responsible for the church's construction. He promised to conduct an intense probe and investigation behind the tragedy to see who is at fault and "bring to book the persons who are found to have compromised professional standards in the construction of the building."
Buildings in Nigeria are often compromised because of corrupt practices that underwent in constructing establishments where substandard materials are used instead of the required building supplies. The felony does not stop in constructing the building since paper works are required to be legitimized. Government officials and inspectors are being bribed to turn a blind eye regarding this, according to the Associated Press.
A similar tragedy to this is the Synagogue Church of All Nations which collapsed in 2011 that killed 116 people. The two structural engineers have been accused of negligence and involuntary manslaughter. Both avoided trial because of repeated legal challenges.