Probe Panel on A’Ibom Church Collapse Submits Report

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Okon Bassey in Uyo

After eight months, the commission of inquiry constituted to look into the December 10, 2016, Reigners Bible Church building collapse in Akwa Ibom State, has submitted its report.

No fewer than 27 people were officially confirmed dead and many wounded including top government officials.

The commission chaired by retired Chief Judge, Justice Umoekoyo Essang, with six other members inaugurated on December 16, 2016, submitted its report wednesday to the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, at the Government House in Uyo.

On being constituted, the committee was asked to submit its report in three weeks from the date of its first sitting or within such extended period as may be allowed after written approval.

The governor, while receiving the report, restated his readiness to implement the recommendations as contained in the report of the probe panel into the disaster.

“I want to thank you for this great job that you have done and to assure you once again that the recommendations of this report would be taken seriously. We would do everything to implement and prevent future occurence of this tragedy. May this affliction never occur the second time,” he said

The governor condemned insinuations by critics who politicise the tragedy, saying disaster does not select anybody, political party, tribe or region.

“Things of this nature should go beyond politics. When the incidence occured it did not select members of a political party, it did not only affect a particular denomination, race or colour.

“It was a tragedy that affected all. It’s unfortunate that people decided to politicise a tragedy of this nature. Such people do not deserve to express opinion in the public,” he said.

He cited the recent clampdown on a criminal gang by the police in which some well-placed persons have been painting a wrong picture of the arrest by telling the world that it was targeted at members of a political party, maintaining that such act does not contribute to the growth of the state.

The governor, again commiserated with families of those who lost their loved ones in the tragedy and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Health, governors’ forum, the state team and organisations in the international community for their support during the incidence.

Thanking members of the commission for accepting to serve in the committee and the painstaking effort in carrying out their responsibilities, the governor acknowledged that they have showed much commitment to the service of the people.

Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Justice Essang, commiserated with the government and people of the state over the unfortunate incidence, and thanked God for sparing the life of the governor in the church building collapse.

He expressed appreciation to the state government for trusting the commission with the assignment without interference despite insinuations from uninformed members of the public, saying the committee carried out it assigned task with inputs from a team of engineers and members of the public.