Twin tragedies bring Nigeria to its’ knees
A hospital director says 160 people were killed when a church roof collapsed onto worshippers in southern Nigeria.
Etete Peters of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital said mortuaries are overflowing and the final death toll likely will be much higher. Youth leader Edikan Peters said many other victims are in private mortuaries scattered all over the city of Uyo.
Congregants said the Reigners Bible Church was still under construction when it was crowded with worshippers to ordain a bishop on Sunday.
Hundreds of people, including Gov Udom Emmanuel, were inside when metal girders crashed onto worshippers and the corrugated iron roof caved in, they said.
Emmanuel and Weeks, who preached that God will make his followers rich, escaped unhurt. The governor’s spokesman, Ekerete Udoh, said the state government will hold an enquiry to investigate if anyone compromised building standards.
Buildings collapse regularly in Nigeria because of endemic corruption with contractors using sub-standard materials and bribing inspectors to ignore shoddy work or a lack of building permits.
Most victims were visiting South African followers of the megachurch’s influential founder TB Joshua. In 2014, 116 people died when a multi-story building of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos.
A coroner blamed structural faults. Two structural engineers, Joshua and church trustees have been accused of criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter after a coroner found the building collapsed from structural failures caused by design and detailing errors.