By John Ikani
The building housing Salvation Ministry, Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Delta State, has reportedly collapsed, trapping an unspecified number of worshippers with over 10 persons confirmed dead.
Heritage Times gathered that the building which is over 10 years old, was initially designed as a plaza before the church bought it at N300 million. One storey building was being reconstructed by the Church.
The building was being used for the first time for service on Tuesday when it collapsed at about 5.55pm.
About eight persons were said to have been rescued unhurt in the collapsed building, while four others with varying degrees of injury were reportedly rushed to the Asaba Specialist Hospital for medical attention.
Worshippers, family members and sympathisers were seen crying just as efforts were being intensified to rescue other trapped victims.
Speaking to newsmen, a church member, who simply identified herself as Grace, said the service was ongoing when the building collapsed with a thunderous noise, saying; “we were clapping and praying when suddenly we heard the cracking and the building swallowed the children section with the children.”
A woman who was wailing beyond control at the scene said her three children were among those trapped in the building.
Secretary to the State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ononye Mordi, team of Red Cross officers, firefighters, Police officers and Men of the Delta State Emergency Management Agency were confirmed to be on ground for a rescue mission not long after the collapse.
The latest collapse comes a month and few weeks after a high rise 21-storey building under construction collapsed in Ikoyi, killing no fewer than 40 persons and injuring many others.
Building collapses are tragically common in Africa’s most populous country, where millions live in dilapidated properties and construction standards are routinely ignored.
Additionally, reports abound that many potential home owners employ quacks who only adopt trial and error methods instead of using seasoned professional builders.
Sometimes, there are other factors such as human error; but greed, corruption, use of quacks and lack of adequate government monitoring account for 90 per cent of building collapse.