- Admits some victims have been buried contrary to govt’s position
Okon Bassey in Uyo
The General Overseer (GO) of Reigners Bible Church International Inc., Akan Weeks, tuesday revealed how he managed to escape when his church building collapsed on October 10, 2016 in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, killing scores of people and injured many.
Weeks, while being cross-examined by the counsel to the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in the state who represented the estate of the dead and those injured in the incident, Clifford Thomas, said he jumped through the window to escape from the disaster.
Weeks, who said he was injured on the leg in the process of escaping from the incident, said he sat on the high table with other bishops and top clergies in the state who came for his consecration, adding that he didn’t know how other bishops and clergies managed to escape.
When asked how he escaped, he said the wife told him that he was unconscious and passed on when he jumped out from the window but he was revived in the hospital after six hours.
“During the day of the incident, I sat with bishops and very senior clergies. When the building was curving in, I didn’t know how they escaped from the collapsed building; but I jumped through the window when the building collapse,” he said.
The General Overseer of the Reigners Bible Church who could no ascertain the number of members of his church who died in the church building collapse, told the commission that medical report put the figure of the deceased at 28.
Contrary to the government position that corpses of those killed in the incident were still in the mortuary, Weeks said he was aware that some of those who died in the disaster had been buried by family members.
After the incident, he said he personally visited those injured in the hospital and some of the bereaved families to prayer for them.
“I visited those who were injured in the hospital. I cannot recall the number visited but they were more than nine people. I pray for them and gave them money and also gave financial assistance to the family of those who died to facilitate their burial.
“What happened on December 10, 2016 was a sad event I expected people to sympathise with me. My heart goes to the deceased and those injured.
“My intention was not to build a house and bring people to die. I look at it as an accident.”
Weeks, who affirmed that the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, is his good friend, said he invited the governor to his Bishopric enthronement as a special guest of honour.
“I cannot ascertain the actual number of people invited for my enthronement as bishop. I invited several thousands of people to the event,” noting that the auditorium was still under construction.