Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, has said the corpses of the victims killed during the collapse of the Reigners Bible Church auditorium, in Uyo on Saturday, will not be released in a rush to their relations for burial.
Mr. Emmanuel announced this when he received members of the state House of Assembly who came to console him added that the corpses would be released to their families after a thorough scientific analysis to avoid the mistake of releasing wrong corpses to wrong families.
Emmanuel who thanked the legislators for the visit and for being the first to donate to the injured victims of the collapsed building, also thanked, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his condolence message to the government and people of the state.
According to him, the state government has drafted the best hands in medical profession across the country and beyond to attend to the victims.
But he appealed to corporate organisations and philanthropists to donate to the treatment of the affected persons who were in different hospitals in the state
The Speaker, Mr Onofiok Luke, commended the governor for his action by personally supervising the rescue operation to ensure the injured were attended to promptly.
The speaker on behalf of the legislators donated a cheque of N3 million to the governor as part of the House contribution to take care of the medical bills of those recuperating in the hospitals.
The House had earlier in its yesterday’s plenary expressed its desire to scrutinise the report of the panel to be set up by Governor Emmanuel to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the collapse of the church auditorium.
That was in response to a motion of urgent public importance brought before the House by the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr. Ime Okon, on the collapsed church building
The House assured members of the public that the committee report would not be swept under the carpet, adding that the house would make further comments after the committee has submitted its report to government.
It also commiserated with the governor, the families of those who lost their loved ones in the incident as well as members of the church.
The house also commended the security agencies, medical personnel and those who participated in the rescue operation.
The Federal Government has offered to provide technical expertise to the government in investigating the Reigners Church collapsed church building.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in a condolence letter to Governor Emmanuel said the ministry through one of its agencies, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) was “ready and equipped to assist and partner the Akwa Ibom government in providing technical intervention expertise aimed at addressing the challenges that will help the investigation into this unfortunate incident.”
He noted that NBRRI has the mandate to investigate causes of such failures, prepare technical reports and provide necessary expertise to help curb similar occurrences, both now and in the future.
Commiserating with the government and people of the state, Onu stated: “My heart goes out to your excellency for personally surviving the incident which shows the mighty Hand of God and His grace upon your life. I will continue to pray for you in the days ahead.”
Conflicting reports have trailed the casualty figure but the state government on Monday put the number of deaths at 23.
Meanwhile, the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS) in a statement by its President, Chief Gloria Laraba Shoda sympathised with the government and the people of Akwa Ibom State as well as the families of victims.
“Our prayers are with you for the repose of the souls of the deceased and the quick recovery of the injured; we pray that the Almighty God in His infinite mercy will grant all the families of those involved in the tragic incident the strength to overcome their great losses and receive the souls of the departed in eternal bliss.”
Shoda also felicitate with the first family over the miraculous escape of the governor who was present at the church when the structure went down.
“NCWS also congratulates you and your entire family on the divine escape of your beloved husband, Governor Emmanuel from the collapse of the church building.”
The women body rejoices with the governor and his entourage on their safe escape and call on relevant authorities to commence investigations with a bid to unravel the circumstances that led to the incident to forestall future re-occurrence.