The Akwa Ibom State Government has said that the pastor whose church building collapsed and killed 27 persons in the state in 2016 is not culpable of any crime. The tragic incident occurred during the consecration ceremony of the founder and pastor of Reigners Bible Church, Uyo, Akan Weeks, as a bishop. The church building was still under construction when it caved in. Also, 37 persons were injured, while additional number of people died later from injuries. The state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, who was one of the guests at the church ceremony, narrowly escaped unhurt. The state government, in a white paper released yesterday, rejected the pastor’s indictment by the commission of inquiry it set up to probe the incident. The commission, headed by a retired judge, Umoekoyo Essang, said in its report that the pastor’s “undue interference” in the construction work led to the collapse of the church building. ”His (Mr Week’s) adamant posture of unbridled impunity as the General Overseer of Reigners Bible Church led to the unfortunate incident of 10 December, 2016,” the commission’s report said. The commission said the church didn’t get government permit for the building construction and that construction work was rushed with impunity to have the event take place in an uncompleted building site.
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