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Collapsed Reigners Bible Church: Clo alleges govt cover-up

By Emmanuel Ayungbe & Dennis Udoma

Uyo—As  relations of the victims of the December 10, 2016 collapse of Reigners Bible Church in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, await the report of the commission of inquiry into the incident in which scores of worshippers were killed, Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Akwa Ibom chapter, has raised alarm, alleging cover up by the state government.

Akwa Ibom State Government had, in December last year, instituted an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the collapse of Reigners Bible church  building.

However, two months after the commission of Inquiry concluded investigation into the incident, the state government is yet to make the report public.

The commission chaired by retired Justice Umoekoyo Essang, had as members,  the Nigeria Society of Engineers Akwa Ibom State chapter, representative of the Police  and other stakeholder in the building industry.

CLO,  which represented the family of victims at the commission, frowned at government’s failure to make the report public, alleging compromise on the part of government and the commission.

Addressing reporters on the matter in Uyo, the CLO Chairman in the state, Mr Clifford Thomas, expressed worry at the continued delay by government  in making the findings of the commission public.

Thomas, who faulted the Justice Essang-led commission, said: “The commission never followed due process before the proceedings ended.”

He wondered why the commission would claim to have concluded its investigation without proper records of proceedings.

“The commission must come up with the records of proceedings for lawyers who appeared in the commission to address them before submitting their report to government,” he said.

The human, who also faulted the collation of the dead and injured, disclosed that “no mention of the children were made in the collation of victims of the tragedy,” wondering why such omission could be made when children formed bulk of the dead in the accident.

“We are representing the human rights community in Akwa Ibom, we are waiting for the report, and if we are not satisfied with what they are going to put out, we will have no other option than to release our own report and pass same to other human rights organisations in and outside Nigeria,” he said.

 


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