Akwa Ibom governor has denied that his aide died while saving him, this is the opposite of what a witness at the tragedy reported that he saw.
The governor also announced the postponement of the Ibom Heritage festival, Following the collapse of the Reigners Bible church in the Akwa Ibom state capital, an eyewitness said he saw something remarkable.
Ubong Mboho, an evangelist, who was inside the collapsed building, told the press that he saw the governor’s aide, Ernest Idem, push Mr Emmanuel away from the falling iron beams.
He said: “He (Mr Idem) was standing close to the governor. I saw him push the governor away from danger when the building started falling.”
He also said that after he saved the governor, the aide was hit by a beam before he could get out of the collapsed building.
However, Mr Udom Emmanuel, the governor of Akwa Ibom has denied the story, saying that nothing like that happened.
While speaking on Monday, December 14, to the mourning nation at an assembly held in the state banquet hall in honour of the victims of the incident, he said the late Mr Idem was a driver who worked “directly in his service”. He also explained that the late driver “sat elsewhere in another location within the church because he was also a member of the church.”
According to Premium Times, the governor’s special assistant on public affairs, Raphael Edem, explained further saying:
On that occasion, as on every event the governor attends, those seated beside him (Mr. Emmanuel) were senior officials of Government while those behind him were security detail,” Mr. Edem said on Facebook.
“There were commissioners, chairmen of boards and commissions, permanent secretaries seated up to four rows behind the governor. My friend Ernest was nowhere around there. I was in that church and I saw those beams and heavy metal and roof come down.
“It is a scene you should pray never to witness as it all happened within a matter of seconds. Do you know the distance between where the governor sat and the exit and that it isn’t possible to push someone that distance?
“Is it possible that someone who wasn’t even close to the governor would somehow manage to jump in between his close body protection detail and push the governor?”
The governor also said that he had to charter flights to fly in neurosurgeons to help treat the victims of the incident, and appealed to the federal government for assistance.
He also consoled the bereaved and other affected people saying:
“The second chance is for everyone and not just the survivors, and we should be more concerned by the account we would render before God, because He will certainly not be interested in our titles and positions.”
In honour of the victims of the collapse, he also announced the postponement of the Ibom Heritage Festival, a three-day cultural event which was earlier scheduled to commence on December 15. He concluded by saying that a new date for the festival will be made known to the public.