There will be no mass burial for the victims of last Saturday’s Reigners Bible International Church building collapse in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the government assured yesterday.
The government said those whose negligence caused the collapse would be punished.
Twenty-six worshippers died and 218 others were injured when the building collapsed during the consecration service of Apostle Akan Weeks, the head of the church, as bishop.
The structure came down on the congregation and guests including Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Health Commissioner Dominic Ukpong said at the Government House in Uyo that bodies of the victims would be released to their family members after the conclusion of investigations by the police.
Dr.Ukpong said: “Government has no intention to do mass burial for the dead victims. The corpses will all be released as soon as the police conclude its investigation. It is our responsibility to ensure that we release these bodies to members of their families.”
The commissioner said that 26 people died in the building collapse. 186 in-patients and 50 out-patients were being treated in 10 hospitals (public and private) across the state.
According to him, there were few unreconciled cases of not more than three persons, promising that the figures would be reconciled as soon as possible.
He said: “26 total deaths were recorded (reconciling three); total in-patients are 168 and total out-patients are 50.
“Ten hospitals have the following patients: University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), 28; Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo (70) Sifon Clinic (nine); Lifecare clinic (24); Premiers Clinic (nine); St Lukes Hospital (22); Gateway Medical Centre (two); Uwah Mfon Clinic (one); First Line Clinic (one) and Alma Clinic & Surgery (two).”
With Ukpong at the briefing were Commissioner for Works Ephraim Inyang-Eyen; Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko; Special Assistant to the Governor on Protocol Mr. Ralph Edem; Senior Special Assistant to the Govenor on Medicals Dr. Ignatius Akpabio and Police Public Relations Officer Cordelia Nwawe, an Assitant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
Reading a prepared statement after the news briefing, Edem, who represented the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Ekerete Udoh, said the panel of enquiry set up by the government to examine the incident had begun its work.