Did the Nigerian police in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state lie on the number of casualties in the collapsed church on Saturday? The police claimed 27 persons died and 30 were injured.
Reuters is disputing the figures, anchoring doubts on witness accounts.
According to the news agency, no fewer than 100 people were killed by collapsed church, belonging to Reigners Bible Church International, according to a resident and photojournalist who visited a morgue.
“At Uyo teaching hospital where I am now I could see over a hundred corpses, many are heaped on top of each other on the floor,” said photojournalist Ini Samuel.
“Eye witnesses also said yesterday corpses were packed in four each bag.”
Gary Ubong, a resident, said the church’s roof had collapsed on worshippers while a pastor was being consecrated as bishop in the presence of government officials.
“I saw more than 100 dead bodies brought out on loaders,” said Ubong, who said he had rushed to the scene after the accident. “I also went to two hospitals and saw heaps of dead bodies difficult to count.”
State police spokeswoman Cordelia Nwawe said 27 were killed and 30 injured when the church collapsed during a service on Saturday.
Etete Peters, Chief Medical Director of the University of Uyo teaching hospital, said 21 bodies were delivered to his clinic and two of the injured admitted for treatment had died.
“Victims are in private hospitals and mortuaries scattered all over Uyo metropolis. We can’t really tell how many people have died so far,” he said. “We do not have space as people are still being brought in.”
State police commissioner Murtala Mani debunking speculations that as many as 60 or 120 worshipers died in the incident.
The state emergency agency NEMA said in a statement that six people had been killed and 115 injured.
Another Uyo resident, Akpan Eminem, said he had been told by hospital staff that 79 people had died in the accident.
State governor Udom Emmanuel, who escaped unhurt from the church service, ordered the arrest of the building contractor, NAN reported.
Buildings collapses are frequent in Nigeria and often blamed by officials on lack of construction permits and the use of cheap materials amid widespread corruption.