By Emmanuel Ayunbge
UYO—THE contractor who handled the roofing and welding works of the collapsed Reigners International Church building in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, which claimed several lives, yesterday, told the commission of inquiry probing the incident that the General Overseer, G.O., of the ill-fated church, ordered the removal of the scaffolds a day before the building collapsed.
The contractor, Mr. Idoreyin Udoh, who was testifying, shocked the commission when on cross examination, claimed that Apostle Akan Weeks, the GO, ordered that the scaffolds supporting the roof of the church be removed a day before the building collapsed during a church service in spite of his warning on the danger.
Udoh, who claimed he was under intense pressure by Apostle Weeks to remove the scaffolds, said he called one Engr. Steve to meet him at the site of the construction which he did.
According to him: “I called Engr. Steve who later called Engr. Uwem Okoko to join us at the site, and he joined us with chicken pox all over his body. He (Eng. Okoko) called Apostle Weeks on his cell phone and Apostle weeks informed him that he was in the office. Engr. Okoko left us for Apostle Weeks’ office. A few minutes later, he came back to the church auditorium to tell us that he had told Apostle Weeks of the danger of removing the scaffolds.
“When Okoko left the site, Apostle Weeks came out from his office and threatened me in the presence of other engineers on site that if I did not remove the scaffolds he was going to order for my arrest. If the other engineers are here they can testify to that fact. Apostle Weeks who was bent on removing the scaffolds supporting the roof further threatened to arrest me and my boys, until I left the site. When I returned in the evening, the foreman told me that Apostle Weeks had warned that if we did not remove the scaffolds he was going to bring a police van and march us all in.”
Mr Idoreyin also told the commission that he was paid N20,250,000 which was receipted for as part of the cost for the roofing and disowned the statement earlier made before the commission by Apostle Weeks that he paid N26,000,000 for the roofing.