The Akwa Ibom State government is set to pull down a multi-million naira church building belonging to the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, in Uyo, the state capital.
The area in which the church is built is prone to landslide, the government says.
The building is located along the Uyo Village Road, almost opposite the collapsed Reigners Bible Church.
The RCCG’s building became the focus of government attention immediately after the collapse of the Reigners Church building, December 10. Twenty-seven worshippers lost their lives, while several others were injured in the tragic incident.
The governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel, who was among the worshippers, narrowly escaped death.
The state government, through the Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA, is accusing RCCG of putting up the massive building without obtaining a government permit.
A similar accusation has been made against Reigners during the sitting of the commission of inquiry set up by the government to investigate the church collapse.
When a PREMIUM TIMES reporter visited the Redeemed Church premises, the building was marked with red paint by the UCCDA, indicating that it was billed for demolition.
The church, Mount of Deliverance Mega Parish, was dedicated by the founder of RCCG, Enoch Adeboye in December 2012.
The Director of Town Planning in the UCCDA, Effiong Akpan, confirmed to this newspaper that they were set to demolish it.
“We have written to the government to release the funds needed for the demolition. We will pull down the building as soon as we get the money.
“It is not only the Redeemed Church that is affected, all the buildings along the Uyo Village Road that we have marked will be demolished,” Mr. Akpan said, adding that the government had declared the area a conservation area since 2000 after discovering that it was prone to landslide.
About three more other churches in the area, including a petrol station, are affected.
The Uyo local government office, at the Uyo Village Road, is exempted from the planned demolition because it was built before the government declared the area a conservation area, Mr. Akpan said.
When PREMIUM TIMES met with the pastor-in-charge of the Redeemed Church, Goke Aniyeloye, he declined comment.
A concerned worshipper at the church premises told PREMIUM TIMES that he believed the government would not pull down the church.
“God says ‘On this rock I will build my church, and the gate of hell shall not prevail’,” he quoted a verse in the Bible, with a shrug.