…He fought his way out of the first collapse; the 2nd crushed him—Victim’s father
By Festus Ahon & Perez Brisibe
ADAGBRASSA—THE 10-year-old drummer of St. Paul Catholic Church, Adagbrassa-Ugolo, died, yesterday, while 11 others sustained various degrees of injuries when the church building collapsed during service.
The worshippers had converged at St. Paul Catholic Church, Adagbrassa, Ugolo, Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State, for the Sunday morning mass, when, midway into the service, the building collapsed.
The church drummer, Jeffery Enukanehire, 10, died when sections of the building’s wall fell on him, while he was drumming during a prayer and worship session.
Giving details of the incident, his father, Jefferson Enukanehire, while lamenting the death of his son, said: “We had just finished the morning prayer for the 7a.m. mass when the wall collapsed on my son.
“We had gone for service in company of my wife and five children, when the unfortunate incident occurred.
“The wall on the left side of the building collapsed and subsequently pulled the other sections of the building down on the worshippers. My son had succeeded in freeing himself from the initial wall that fell on him, when another section of the building fell and crushed him to death.”
The church, located in Adagbrassa, home town of former Minister of Culture and Tourism, late Maj. Gen Patrick Aziza (retd), is 100 years old, and rebuilding/expansion work was ongoing before it collapsed, yesterday.
Okowa, Speaker mourn
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has expressed sadness over the incident, describing it as sad and regrettable in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu.
Okowa sent the Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye, to visit the site with a view to unravelling the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the building and how government can aid the injured worshippers.
He prayed for the repose of the departed faithful and condoled with the family, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Sheriff Oborevwori; Chairman of Okpe Local Government; Chief J.J. Scot, the Orodje of Okpe, HRM, Orhue 1, Major Gen. Felix Mujakperuo (retd) and the entire Ugolo community.
The governor said: “It is our prayer that the souls of the deceased will rest in peace and that the injured will experience quick recovery.
“Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with the people of Ugolo in Okpe Kingdom over this tragedy.”
He directed that adequate medical attention be given to the survivors, promising that the state government will pay the medical bills of those injured.
Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has commiserated with Delta State Government and the Catholic Church in Nigeria over the incident.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki also stated that he will continue to monitor the situation and help ensure that all survivors receive necessary medical attention.
He said: “My prayers are with the worshippers, affected families, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the people of Delta State on this morning’s (yesterday) collapse of St. Paul Catholic Church. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide assistance.
“Right now, we must all come together as Muslims, Christians, people of faith, and most importantly, Nigerians to provide all necessary relief for the affected families and community.
“This tragedy affects us all and we join the Catholic community to mourn the deceased.”
On his part, Oborevwori who described the incident as unfortunate, sympathised with the family of the deceased, the church and the Okpe Kingdom.
Noting that seven of the 11 injured during the collapse had been treated and discharged, the statement read that the remaining four were still undergoing treatment and were in stable condition.
“While we pledge to pay the cost of treatment for the injured, people must ensure they seek necessary approvals before construction of buildings, particularly public structures to avoid incidences such as this,” the statement read.