The architect who designed the collapsed Reigners’ Bible Church building, Mr. Abimbola Oke, has told the commission of enquiry sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, that he stands by his original design for the church.
Oke, who was cross-examined by the commission’s lawyer, Mr. Friday Oke, recalled that when he visited the site to check on the church’s founder and General Overseer, Apostle Akan Weeks, the design had been altered.
According to him, during his visit, he told Weeks that what was implemented was at variance with the original design.
Oke said he advised the cleric on the importance of adhering to the original design.
The architect, who is also a lecturer at the University of Uyo, said when he checked the building, he also noticed that not all the structural elements had been put in place. including the gallery floor.
The lecturer said he did not supervise the building project, as speculated, adding that if he did, the church would have paid for it, having given the church the design, valued at N11.5 million without charging a dime.'
Asked why he rendered the service free, Oke said: “That was not the first time I was doing that kind of a thing. It is my belief that God can bless me. It is my act of service to God, and it has been proven over and over again.”
Asked if he designed the roof and the trusses, the architect said he was not the designer.
He said: “Apostle Weeks asked me to design a round or diagonal 5,000 sitting capacity auditorium plan for him. After the design, I took it to him and he said it was all right. As regards altering the design, I did not redesign any part of the building. I stand by my original design, which included the basement floor.
“The apostle later asked me if I could supervise the building, but the church’s building committee chairman said they were going to build their church by themselves.
“Afterwards, I visited Weeks at a certain point in time and told him that what was in the design was not implemented. I also informed him of the importance of adhering to the original design.”
Oke added that he understood that the site was slopy and that it was the reason he introduced the basement floor to suit the site.