Akwa Ibom church collapse: No one will be exonerated, says Nwoko

Uwemedimo Nwoko 

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Akwa Ibom state government on Tuesday that anyone linked to the collapse of Reigners Bible Church on December 10, 2016, would be prosecuted.

Uwemedimo Nwoko, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said this in Uyo while reacting to criticism in some quarters, alleging an attempt to exonerate the Founder of the Church, Akan Weeks.

Weeks had been accused of impunity and use of quacks in the construction of the church building.

He had promised to liaise with the police authority in the state to carry out a thorough investigation and release the names of those indicted by the report of the commission, to ensure that justice was done in line with due process.

Nwoko appealed to the people to remain calm and be patient as the state government would do everything possible to ensure that everyone indicted was properly investigated and charged to court.

He said: “All those who have been indicted by the report will be subjected to a thorough investigation by the police and anyone found culpable will be charged to court and made to face the law.

“No one has been exonerated, but we have to carry out proper investigation, you cannot just jail anyone, we must follow due process, but trust that justice will be done at the end of the day.”

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Commission of Inquiry on the collapsed church building was inuagurated on December 26, 2016, to investigate the immediate and remote causes that led to the collapse of the church building in Uyo.

The commission, which was headed by retired Justice Umoekoyo Essang, submitted its report to the state government on June 22, 2017.

According to the commission’s report, Akan Weeks (Founder of the church) was accused of “undue interference” in the construction work, which might have led to the collapse of the church building.

It stated: “His (Mr Weeks’) adamant posture of unbridled impunity as the Founder/General Overseer of Reigners Bible Church led to the unfortunate incident of 10 December, 2016.”

The report added that the church did not obtain government permit for the building construction and that the construction work was rushed with impunity to have the event take place in an uncompleted building site.

However, in its white paper, the state government noted that the facts available indicated that Akan Weeks relied on the professionals he engaged.

Government also observed that it was the obligation of the professionals to execute due care and skills in the discharge of their duties or resign, where they were not allowed to do so.

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