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Nigerian Governor Orders Arrest of Building Contractor of Collapsed Church

  • VOA News

People gathered at the site of a collapsed church in Uyo, Nigeria, Dec. 11, 2016.

The governor of Nigeria's southern Akwa Ibom state where the roof of a church under construction collapsed on worshippers Saturday, killing many people, has ordered the arrest of the building contractor, according to the state news agency.

Governor Udom Emmanuel, who was in the church at the time of the collapse and escaped without injury, ordered the arrest Sunday.

Reports of the death toll vary widely, with some media saying as many as 160 people died, others placing the toll closer to 60, and local government officials only confirming 27 dead and 30 injured.

Hundreds of people were in the Reigners Bible Church in the city of Uyowhen the roof collapsed.The church's founder, who survived the incident, was to be made a bishop during the service.

One survivor told local media from his hospital bed that the roof fell about 30 minutes into the program. "Suddenly, the roof from the middle fell on worshippers. The governor was quickly rescued. But others were not that lucky."

Governor Emmanuel tweeted that he personally supervised rescue operations at the scene. He declared Sunday and Monday as days of mourning.

A spokesman for the governor said the state will conduct an investigation into the collapse.

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