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Church Collapse: A/Ibom To Persecute Culprits



The attorney general and commissioner for Justice, Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko has assured Akwa Ibom people, including victims of the collapsed Reigners Bible Church that the state government will prosecute all those whose activities led to the collapse of the church building.

This is in reaction to criticism in some quarters, alleging an attempt to exonerate the founder of the Reigners Bible Church, Mr Akan Weeks who was accused of impunity and use of quacks in the construction of the church building.

LEADERSHIP recalled that the state government inaugurated on December 26, 2016, a commission of inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the Dec. 10 church building collapse in Uyo, the commission, headed by a retired judge, Umoekoyo Essang. In its report submitted to the state government on June 22 2017 the commission accused Akan Week’s (founder of the church) of  “undue interference” in the construction work which led to the collapse of the church building.

“His (Mr Weeks’) adamant posture of unbridled impunity as the Founder/ General Overseer of Reigners Bible Church led to the unfortunate incident of 10 December, 2016,” the commission added in the report.

The commission said the church didn’t get government permit for the building construction and that the construction work was rushed with impunity to have the event take place in an uncompleted building site.

Reacting to the report in its white paper however,  the state government noted that “Facts available indicated that Apostle (Dr.) Akan Weeks relied on the professionals he engaged.”

The government observed that it is the obligation of the professionals to execute due care and skill in the discharge of their duties or resign where they are not allowed to do so.

Speaking with newsmen in Uyo yesterday, the attorney general said although the state government would not prosecute anyone based on the report of the commission as it was set up to allow parties involved to testify freely, government will however ensure that any one found culpable must be made to feel the full weight of the law.

He promised to liaise with the police authority in the state to ensure a thorough investigation of those indicted by the report of the commission to ensure that justice is done in line with due process.

Nwoko appealed to Akwa Ibom people to remain calm and patient as the state government would do all within its powers to ensure that everyone indicted is properly investigated and charged to court.

“All those who have been indicted by the report will be subjected to a thorough investigation by the police and anyone found culpable will be charged to court and made to face the full weight of the law”.

“No one has been exonerated, but we have to carry out proper investigation, you cannot just jail anyone, we must follow due process, but trust that justice must be done at the end of the day”.

Meanwhile the state commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong has disclosed that the Akwa Ibom State government has taken steps to forestall a repeat of such magnitude of deaths in the state, with the establishment of Emergency Health Centres, with trained emergency personnel.

He has also commended Governor Udom Emmanuel who although a victim of the Reigners Bible Church building collapse, comported himself and led the rescue team to ensure that victims were immediately evacuated and rescued.

Ukpong said as further indication of commitment to the welfare of victims of the collapsed Church Building, the Akwa Ibom State government recently spent a total of N300 million as medical bills.



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