Reigners Church Collapse: Circumstantial Evidences Emerge


By; Patrick Titus, Uyo.
More facts that may lead to the remote cause of collapse of the Reigners Bible Church building on the 10th of last month in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State are beginning to unveil as more witnesses testify before the commission of inquiry.
Chief Executive Officer of Omni Arc Nigeria Limited, Architect Abimbola Oke, who designed the structural design of the church building while giving evidence as witness before the commission on Monday, said that the building was not built according to its original design.
Oke, who is the State Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architects and also a Lecturer at the University of Uyo told the Commission that although he designed the structural design of the building but what was implemented outside the design he did.
“To the best of my knowledge, Apostle Akan Weeks did not follow the original design I submitted to him. I shall request this Commission of Inquiry to visit the site of the collapsed Reigners Bible Church at Uyo village Road to reconcile the facts on ground to the building design I submitted”, Oke stated.
“What was implemented did not reflect what I designed. I observed that not all the structural elements were been put in place, the gallery floor was not there. In other words, there was an alternation on the structure that collapsed and the structure I designed” he added
Oke also revealed that, he did not developed any work plan for the building as alleged by one of the witnesses, Mr. Anietie Ndarake.
According to him, work plan is a schedule of work to be carried out with time frame and must be in writing.
Oke explained that Weeks specifically instructed him to draw for him, a 5,000 capacity church auditorium with round or octagonal shape, adding that the plan was accepted as designed.
He also denied supervising the building of the project contrary to earlier evidence given by the Church’s founder, Apostle Akan Weeks when he was cross-examined by counsels to various witnesses last week.
“When I presented the building plan to Weeks in presence of the Church Building Committee, they gave me the impression that the building would be supervised by the Church Building Committee.”
Oke alleged that he was disappointed and betrayed by Weeks for saying during cross-examination that he (Oke) was a supervisor to the collapsed building when he was not.
According to him, he designed the building free of charge for weeks, which would have cost N11.5 million as part of his contribution to the church.
Also in his testimony, Engr. Uwem Okoko of Hensek Integrated Services Ltd. told the Commission that Apostle Weeks ordered for the removal of the scaffold against his professional advice.
Scaffolds are temporary supports to support a building during construction and are usually dismantled after the completion of construction and certified stable.
Okoko, whose company undertook the landscaping and compacting of Church, said that he heard of the removal of the scaffolds that support the centre roof that gave in through one of the site engineers, Mr. Stephen Alawi.
Speaking to newsmen, Akpakan Okoho Esq., counsel to Engr. Okoko alleged that Weeks lied against his client by also saying that he contracted his client to supervise the building besides ordering for the removal of scaffolds when the construction was not completed and certified stable.
Whereas his client had warned Apostle Weeks on the danger of removing the centre scaffolds that were used to support the building and which he failed to hide to his advice, Okoho stated.
The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Umoekeyo Essang (rtd) adjourned sitting to January 17th for more witnesses.


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