At least 160 killed as crowded church collapses in Nigeria | world-news | Hindustan Times
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At least 160 killed as crowded church collapses in Nigeria

The roof of a crowded church collapsed onto worshippers in southern Nigeria on Saturday, killing at least 60 people, witnesses and an official said.

world Updated: Dec 12, 2016 01:22 IST
Nigeria
The Reigners Bible Church International in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom state, was still under construction and workers had been rushing to finish it in time for Saturday’s ceremony.(Twitter/@NigeriaNewsdesk)

The roof of a crowded church collapsed onto worshippers in southern Nigeria on Saturday, killing at least 160 people, a hospital director said.

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 Saturday. Metal girders crashed and the corrugated iron roof caved in.

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 inquiry 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.

In 2014, 116 people died when a multi-story guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. Most victims were visiting South African followers of the megachurch’s influential founder T. B. Joshua.

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.

But Lagos state government efforts to bring them to court have been foiled by repeated legal challenges that have delayed a trial.