A family member of one of the persons who allegedly handled the construction of the Reigners Bible Church building, Mr. Uwem Augustine, recently, has faulted the arrest and detention of his brother, Anietie Augustine, by the police since 12th December 2016 over allegation of his involvement in the building that collapsed during ill-fated bishopric enthronement of Akan Weeks. He has also demanded for the arrest of the church’s founder as well as immediate and unconditional release of his brother. He made this call when he led his family to meet with the investigative panel of Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO).
Mr. Uwem said that his brother was not responsible for the collapse of Reigners Bible Church’s building on 10th December, 2016. According him, Anietie, being a member of the church, was asked to help in coordinating labour at the site, and was not financially committed to render his services.
“He was not contracted or paid to supervise any aspect of the construction work. He had no hand in the drawings, designs or worked at the site as one paid money to offer professional service. Apostle Akan Weeks controlled everything at the site. He paid persons to carry out jobs there, and we are aware that he personally paid people to remove the scaffold that held the weight of the ‘drum or fulcrum’ of the truss of the roof.
“It was after removing the scaffold on Friday evening from what we gathered that a crack was noticed on the wall. Why did he order the removal of the scaffold against advice, why did he keep threatening workers at the site to act against sound advice? We want Akan Weeks to release Anietie Augustine Ndarake immediately.”
He noted that designers of the structure and the roof with others who influenced the work at the site including Mr. Weeks, the founder of the church, were all released after making statements to the police days after the incident while two persons have remained in police custody since 12th of December, 2016.
Uwem also stressed that his brother has passed through serious trauma and bad health conditions in the police custody. He also revealed that his brother had made arrangements to marry his heartthrob, Miss Emem Antia, and the wedding events were scheduled to take place on December 15 and 18, 2016, unfortunately the marriage ceremonies could not hold owing Anietie’s arrest on the 12th of December.
Meanwhile, the civil society in Akwa Ibom State has inaugurated a seven-member committee made up of eminent civil society practitioners and activists operating in Akwa Ibom State called ‘The Civil Society Investigative Response to the Reigners Bible Church Collapse in Uyo tasked with the responsibility to investigate the incident particularly as it affects the human rights of victims.
The civil society has called on the police to ensure that all those involved in anyway in the events leading up to the building collapse should be investigated and brought to book, to serve as “a deterrence against a possible re-occurrence of a disaster of this nature.”