The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has declared that not more than 23 lives were lost in last Saturday’s Reigner’s Church building collapse in Uyo.
He spoke during a solemn assembly at the Government House Banquet Hall in honour of victims of the collapse building.
The Governor has also debunked the claim in some quarters that one of his aides who pushed him out of the collapsing building, lost his life in the process, saying the only staff directly in his service who lost his life was a driver who sat elsewhere in another location within the church because he was also a member of the church.
The Governor said the earlier figures from some sections of the media came as a result of multiple counting as a result of the different private health centres that victims were rushed to, before being transferred to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), and the Ibom Specialist Hospital in Uyo.
He thanked God who honoured the covenant he made concerning his executive council members, maintaining that none of them died in the disaster.
Governor Emmanuel said he was able to charter aircrafts to bring in neuro-surgeons from around the country, adding that his efforts resulted in 99 percent success rate for all the injured victims.
Acknowledging the presence of the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, Governor Emmanuel appealed for assistance from the federal government in the medical expenses of the victims.
The Governor again reassured Akwa Ibom people not to be despaired by the occurrence as God is still with the state, noting that accidents could occur anywhere to anybody.
He said that what mattered most is that the survivors have been given a second chance by God to straighten their ways so that they would be prepared for judgement after their life on earth.
“The second chance is for everyone and not just the survivors, and we should be more concerned by the account we would render before God, because He will certainly not be interested in our titles and positions.”
Goodwill messages were received from the Senate President represented by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
They both extended their condolences to the government and people of the state and assured of their readiness to support the state government’s efforts in ameliorating the crises.
Prayers were offered for the Divine Intervention of God against further calamity, God’s comfort to the bereaved families and the state.