A church building has collapsed in Nigeria, on Saturday (10 December), leaving at least 160 dead, it was later reported. The building in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, was said to be full due to a ceremony in which a pastor was being ordained as a bishop.
Many were also injured in the building collapse on Saturday. Though no official death toll has yet been given, Etete Peters of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital and the final death toll likely will be much higher, with mortuaries "overflowing."
The Reigners Bible Church was said to have still been under construction on Saturday, when it hosted the ordination of Pastor Akan Week's as bishop. According to reports the metal girders crashed and the corrugated iron roof caved in. A witness told Premium Times that during the ceremony: "Suddenly, the whole building collapsed"
He added: "Many people are buried under the debris as emergency workers continue rescue exercises."
Local governor Udom Emmanuel had attended the ceremony but was quickly pulled from the building collapse. Sky news reported him as saying: "It's not a good thing. We are really, really devastated that this could happen.
"But at the same time, I pray that people should be calm and let's at least say that the situation, let's see the causalities that we have and then be rest assured on the part of government we will do everything possible to make sure that this will never happen again in this state."
He added that the authorities would investigate whether or not safety standards had been compromised in any way.
According to reports, members of the Nigerian police force, army and security services were all involved in rescue efforts. Meanwhile the scene was attended by the Red Cross who were treating minor injuries.
Speaking on behalf of the State's Police, Cordelia Nwawe told The Nation Online: "This is a very unfortunate incident. The governor is safe. A lot of the people are safe. People have been rushed to the hospital. By evening, we will be able to talk about the number of casualties. We are here to ensure that hoodlums do not take over the place."