Nigeria church collapse survivors full of thanks to God

The remains of the Reigners Bible Church International structure after its collapse, December 11 2016. (PHOTO: Punch)

Originally published in Christian Today

They were dancing and singing praises to the Lord when death came crashing down.

Hundreds of worshippers were inside Reigners Bible Church International in Uyo, Nigeria on Saturday when metal girders buckled and, together with the corrugated tin roof, crashed onto them, killing at least 160 people, NPR reported.

There were plenty of survivors, each one thankful to God for sparing their lives.

“I was inside the church. Everything was normal; there was no problem. A lady was called to lead the praise worship session … As the praise worship was going on, the building fell and I didn’t know how I got here,” one of the survivors named Eno Etim told Punch while undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

She recalled that an iron bar struck her in the back during the collapse before she passed out.

Profuse thanks to God
Nonye Richy, another survivor, was profuse with thanks to God for saving her life. In a post on Facebook on Sunday, Richy recalled seeing how a falling rod “split in halves” the girl sitting close to her.

Richy, the CEO of the Nonye Richy Show, said she lost some of her close friends in the tragedy.

“Many who were better than me lost their lives that day but I don’t know how God did, I don’t know why he did it but what I know is that God made a way for me to be alive till today … words cannot express how grateful I am to God,” she wrote.

A woman looking for her loved ones is seen at the site of the collapsed church structure in Uyo, Nigeria. (PHOTO: Reuters)

The tragedy struck during the enthronement ceremony for the church’s new head, Bishop Akan Weeks, who reportedly suffered a leg injury.

In a statement posted on the church’s Facebook page on Monday, Pastor Anietie Daniel said they shared in the pain being felt by the survivors and the families of those who died.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the afflicted even as we pray for the repose of lost souls, divine direction and comfort. Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, yes, Comfort my people, says your God, God will Comfort us all and keep this city, state and nation from danger and destruction in Jesus Mighty name,” Daniel said.

Government to take action
Udom Emmanuel, the governor of Akwa Ibom State who was also one of the survivors, said the government will work to ensure that such a tragedy will never happen again.

Emmanuel has already ordered the arrest of the church’s contractor even as the state government began a probe into the incident, according to the state-run NAN news agency. The governor vowed to punish anyone “found to have compromised professional standards in erecting the building.

The church was reportedly still under construction when it collapsed and that it was built quickly in order to be used for Saturday’s ceremony.

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