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Sunday 25 February 2018

Many structural faults in collapsed Nigerian church, says expert

Victims of the collapsed Reigners Bible Church International building receive treatment (AP)
Victims of the collapsed Reigners Bible Church International building receive treatment (AP)

Nigeria's engineering regulatory body says a church that collapsed over the weekend and killed scores of worshippers had many structural faults.

The president of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria also says the structure did not have the required building permit.

Kashim Ali urged the engineers involved in the building to surrender.

Reigners Bible Church International was under construction when it hosted hundreds of people for the consecration of a bishop on December 10.

Metal girders and the corrugated iron roof crashed onto worshippers as the structure collapsed.

At least 160 people died, though the state government puts the toll at 27 dead.

Mr Ali said a preliminary investigation into the disaster in the city of Uyo has revealed that the church's construction, which began in 2013, was carried out without the required building permit - and that state authorities several times slapped "Stop Work" orders on the structure.

The council's investigation also found that many columns and beams had inadequate stirrups, and base plates were too small for the trusses of the structure, all held together by welding. Stirrups help prevent support beams from buckling.

Uyo is the capital of Akwa Ibom State, whose governor has ordered the arrest of the church's chief engineer.

Mr Ali said he doubted any of the engineers were registered with the council, noting that many unqualified people are involved in construction in Nigeria.

Buildings collapse often in this West African country because of endemic corruption, with contractors using sub-standard materials and bribing inspectors to ignore shoddy work or a lack of permits.


Press Association

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