A’Ibom Indigenes Await White Paper on Church Collapse


• State govt doles out N300 million to hospitals involved in rescue incident.

Okon Bassey in Uyo

The last is yet to be heard over the collapse of a church building in Akwa Ibom State where scores of worshippers died more than a year ago.

While the state is awaiting government white paper on the disaster, yesterday the state government doled out over N300 million to private hospitals and clinics that helped in treating victims of the collapsed church structure.

Reigners Bible Church collapsed in December 2016 during the ordination service of the founder of the church, Akan Weeks.

The accident left many people maimed including top government officials with the state governor among those that escaped death.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, presented the cheques to 14 out of the 16 health facilities who were involved in reviving lives and preserving the corpses of those that died, lauding them for their patience, trust and the faith in government to fulfill its side of commitment to them.
“Today, we are here to keep to the promise we made to all of you. The governor during the incident directed that you should assist by treating anybody brought to your facility without demanding for deposit or consultation fees.

“Your actions saved many lives, we thank the doctors for understanding with government in reducing the cost of treatment to the barest minimum for us to be able to pay; this shows a lot of sacrifice on your part. I thank most management of the hospitals for bearing with government for more than one year before payment,” he said.

He noted that during the tragic incident, different figures were given as those that died, saying that 30 people died among those rushed to the hospitals for treatment, but could not reveal the figure of those who died on the spot when the accident took place.

The commissioner called on private medical practitioners in the state to always support government in times of emergencies as such assistance would not be taken for granted.
He stressed that the issue of deposit from trauma patient before treatment should always be played down.

Some of the hospitals and clinics settled for their services included the Premier Medical Services, LifeCare Hospital, Uwakmfon Specialists Clinics, Domingo Specialists Hospital, St. Lukes Hospital, Alma Clinic and Surgery, Sifon Clinics, among others.

Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, the chief medical director of Uwakmfon Specialists Clinics, Dr. Emmanuel Effiong, commended the state government for keeping to its promise.
He assured the state government of the cooperation of private medical practitioners in the state in saving lives, but however appealed to government to review downward the payment of their practicing fees to government.