Ugolo, Nigeria: The government has confirmed at least one fatality and several worshipers of St. Paul Catholic Church, Ugolo, Adagbrasa in Okpe local government area of Delta State still trapped after the church building collapsed on them during the Sunday morning worship service today.
According to the preliminary report by the Delta State Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye, one person died from the incident, eleven were rushed to the hospital out of which seven have been treated and discharged while the remaining four were still undergoing treatment.
The commissioner explained that: “the church is a 100 years old church building and in an attempt to rebuild and expand the church, the old church building collapsed as a result of heavily soaked waters occasioned by the weight of worshipers who leaned against the walls while the early morning mass was on.
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa on Sunday expressed sadness over the death of a worshiper in the unfortunate collapse of St. Paul Catholic Church building, Ugolo, Adagbrasa in Okpe local government area of the state.
This is even as he has pledged that the state government will take care of the hospital bills of the injured victims.
In a statement issued on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Charles Aniagwu, Okowa described the unfortunate incident as sad and regrettable.
According to the statement, Okowa has also despatched the State Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye to visit the site and unravel the circumstances surrounding the collapse.
The commissioner was also charged to find out how the government can assist the victims and the church.
Okowa prayed for the repose of the soul of the late victim while commiserating with the family of the deceased.
“This is indeed a very sad and unfortunate incident”.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Delta State I commiserate with the family of the deceased and those injured, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chairman of Okpe Local Government Council, Chief Julius Scott, the Orodje of Okpe, HRM, Orhue 1, Major Gen. Felix Mujakperuo (retd) and the entire Ugolo community in Okpe Kingdom over the unfortunate incidence.
“It is our prayer that the soul of the deceased will rest in peace, and that the injured will experience quick recovery. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with the people of Ugolo in Okpe Kingdom over this tragedy,” he said.
Reacting to the report by the Commissioner for Works, Gov. Okowa pledged to pay the hospital bills of all those in the hospital.
He however admonished all builders to adhere strictly to the building code and ensusre they get approval before any construction.
“While we pledge to pay the cost of treatment for the injured, people must ensure they seek necessary approvals before construction of buildings particularly public structures to avoid incidences such as this.” the statement added
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Sunday, commiserated with the Delta State Government and the Catholic Church in Nigeria over the collapse of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Okpe Local Government Area.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, promised to help ensure that survivors received necessary medical attention.
“My prayers are with the worshippers, affected families, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the people of Delta State on this morning’s collapse of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Okpe LGA.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and provide assistance to see that survivors are rescued and treated.
“Right now, we must all come together as Muslims, Christians, people of faith and most importantly, Nigerians to provide all necessary relief for the affected families and community.
“This tragedy affects us all and we join the Catholic community to mourn the deceased, even as rescue efforts are still under way,” he said.