*As A-Ibom Assembly donates N3m for treatment of injured victims
By Chioma Onuegbu & Dennis Udoma
UYO—The two days of mourning declared by Akwa Ibom State Government in honour of victims of last weekend’s Uyo church tragedy, ended yesterday, with a solemn assembly at Government House, Uyo, as Governor Udom Emmanuel urged residents to keep their faith in God.
Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has donated N3 million as its contribution for the medical bills of those injured in the collapsed Reigners Bible Church on Uyo Village Road.
Speaker of the House, Mr Onofiok Luke, presented the N3 million cheque on behalf of the state legislature during a condolence visit to the state governor, Mr Emmanuel in his office, yesterday.
He described the incident as sad and unfortunate.
He commended the governor for his prompt action and for personally supervising the rescue operation to ensure many injured victims were given proper medical attention.
Speaking at the solemn assembly, Governor Emmanuel thanked God for His benevolence and covenant with his administration, particularly, in preserving the lives of his executives during the disaster at Reigners’ Bible Church.
He also denied rumours that his survival at the incident was aided by a staff of the Protocol Unit attached to his office, Mr. Ernest Idem, who was killed in the tragedy.
The governor said: “The only staff directly in my service who lost his life was a driver, who sat elsewhere in another location within the church, because he was also a member of the church.”
On the casualty figure, the governor attributed it to earlier figures from some sections of the media, noting that it came as a result of multiple counting issued by the different private health centres the victims were rushed to before being transferred to University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, and the Ibom Specialist Hospital in the metropolis.
But this was contrary to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy’s position on casualty figure, Mr. Charles Udoh, who spoke from his hospital bed at Ibom Specialist Hospital in Uyo, yesterday, saying that his ministry had directed the Permanent Secretary and the Chief Information Officer to collate the figures from all the medical facilities in order to make an official declaration.
Governor Emmanuel, however, reassured Akwa Ibom people not to be despaired by the incident as God was still with the state, maintaining that the accident could have occurred anywhere to anybody.
He said that what mattered most was that the survivors have been given a second chance by God to straighten their ways so that they would be prepared for judgment after their lives on earth.
“The second chance is for everyone and not just the survivors and we should be more concerned by the account we would render before God, because He will certainly not be interested in our titles and positions,” Governor Emmanuel said, adding that he had hired neuro-surgeons from around the country to assist in reviving the victims, a move which has recorded 99 per cent success for all the injured victims.