By Concise News correspondents
Following last Saturday’s church building collapse in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Government has promised to issue certificates of safety on public buildings before hosting public events.
Addressing the press in Uyo on Wednesday, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, said that the state government was committed to enforcing relevant building regulations.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Reigners Bible Church collapsed during the bishopric consecration of its founder, Apostle Akan Weeks, and killed scores of worshipers.
The press conference coordinated by the governor’s Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Raphael Edem, had in attendance the Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko and the Commissioner for Works, Ephraim Inyang.
“Henceforth, only public buildings which have passed the necessary safety and stability tests will be allowed to host public events.
“Government is set to streamline the processes involved in the monitoring and enforcement of relevant building regulations, especially with regard to public buildings to ensure that they meet professional standards.
“Government is committed to doing all that is necessary to ensure that this unprecedented event never happens again,” Ukpong said.
He, however, said that those initially thought to be dead during evacuation were revived by the rescue team, hence, the current death toll recorded by government stood at 26 as at Wednesday. Initial report had put death toll at around 200.
Ukpong said that a total of 168 victims were evacuated and admitted in 10 different health facilities across the state capital.
He said that only three commissioners and a member of the state House of Assembly had injuries in the incident, some of whom had been treated and discharged.
The commissioner appealed to public spirited individuals and corporate organisations to assist the state government financially and also donate blood for surgical operations of victims.
He appealed to the families, who lost their loved ones, to allow government to complete inquiry into the incident before releasing the corpses for burial.
“The panel of enquiry into this incident set up by the government is commencing work immediately.
“We wish to restate, for the avoidance of doubt, that persons found culpable would face the full weight of the law irrespective of tribe, religion or status in the society,” Ukpong said.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his concern and condolence message to the state on the incident. He also appreciated all other sympathizers, who made calls and donations to the state.
Ukpong also commended the security agencies, the medical teams, the construction companies and voluntary agencies for assisting the state government during the emergency period.