Akwa Ibom Church collapse: Panel orders release of Engineer

Church building Collapse in Akwa Ibom

The special panel of inquiry constituted by the Akwa Ibom Government to investigate the collapsed Reigners Bible International Church building has ordered the release of structural engineer who handled the project.

The Chairman of the panel, Umoekoyo Essang, gave the order on Tuesday at the first business unit sitting of the panel after an appeal by the counsel to the General Overseer of the church in High Court Complex in Uyo.

Ini Ekpo, counsel to the General Overseer, Apostle Akan Weeks, had appealed to the court to give an extension of time to enable him find necessary documents that would aid the investigation.

According to him, the engineer was in possession of the valuable documents that would aid in the case.

Mr. Ekpo said it was necessary for the engineer to be released to enable his team have access to the documents of the building.

Also speaking, Ekanem Ekanem, counsel to the Structural Engineer, who commended the panel for ordering the his release, said all his efforts to get his client’s release from police had proved abortive.

The Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko, had also appealed to the panel to approve the release of the bodies to the families of the deceased after inspecting the corpses.

He said the release of the bodies to the families of the deceased would reduce the pressure on the state government by the families of the deceased for the release of the corpses.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Commission of Enquiry has received memos from the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).

The state government set up the panel of inquiry following the collapse of the church building on December 10, 2016.

At least 26 died in the crash.

The panel adjourned to January 6 to enable complainant access the necessary documents. (NAN)

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