The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, has criticised the state government for refusing to release a white paper on the report of the judicial commission of inquiry on the church collapse that killed 27 people and injured 37 in 2016.
The state government said on Wednesday in a statement that, “The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice has been mandated to commence the process of taking appropriate actions against all persons found culpable in the church building collapse.”
The statement, issued by the Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh, added that “All cases of proven professional negligence will be dealt with decisively within the ambit of the law.”
The APC said the government statement did not offer succour to families who lost their loved ones in the Reigners Bible Church collapse or take specific action to prevent such tragedy from happening again.
The party condemned the government’s position on the matter and called on the victims’ families and the Akwa Ibom people to reject it.
“There are clear indications that this government cannot be trusted to tell the truth,” the APC said in a statement issued on Thursday by its spokesperson, Edet Bassey.
Mr. Bassey described the government’s statement as “a prescription designed to deceive the people and protect the culprits”.
He said it would have served public interest if the Akwa Ibom State Government had deployed the Coroner’s Law in the church collapse, just like the Lagos State Government did in 2014 when a guest-house within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed, killing more than 100 persons.
“Whoever advised Deacon Emmanuel (governor) cannot feign ignorance of the Coroner’s Law but knowingly opted for a Commission of Enquiry in order to protect hidden interests and subvert the course of justice,” the spokesperson said.
“Under the Commission of Enquiry law of the state, evidence obtained from and in the course of the sittings of the commission are inadmissible against anyone in civil or criminal proceedings.
“It is reported on good authority that the commission indicted government for failing to properly exercise its regulatory functions during the construction of the collapsed church building. As expected and customary with this government such an indictment cannot find space in the public domain,” Mr. Bassey said.
The state government is yet to react to the APC’s criticism.
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