By Bright Bassey
The General Overseer of Reigners Bible Church Int’l, Akan Weeks, on Monday, denied his church was marked for demolition before its collapse.
Weeks reacted to the claim by the Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA who at a hearing before a commission of inquiry set up by the Akwa Ibom state government to investigate the cause of the collapse of his church structure.
The pastor denied the claim by the UCCDA’s head of Town Planning Department, Effiong Akpan, that the church building had been marked for demolition five different times,
“They (UCCDA) did not mark the building for demolition. Officials of UCCDA never came to mark ‘X’ to the church building
The cleric upon being asked applied for the approval to develop and build a church on the site, said, he got verbal approval to commence the construction of his church structure.
“To be very honest, I am a man of God. I don’t believe in lies.
“We applied. That was in 2014. I applied with all the documents required. We applied through writing and there were other documents which I gave to them like the survey plan; structural design and so on.”
Weeks also testified before the commission saying he paid one Etido Udoh, a member of staff of Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA, the sum of N300,000 as approval fee.
“They also demanded for money (N300,000) which I gave to them in my office. One Etido Udoh collected the money.
“No receipt was given to me at that instance but I was surprised after the December 10 incident while I was still in the hospital I had a call and somebody said he was from UCCDA (one Edito Udoh).”
“He asked if he could speak with me when my wife picked the call. He insisted to see me and I told him I was not in town. He said he wanted to give me my church documents.”
”I told him to reach my counsel. They returned my building document and the N300, 000 through one Mrs Ima David, a lawyer to my lawyer Ini Ekpo on January 4, 2017 at the premises of the court.”
The church building collapsed during Week’s consecration service as a bishop on December 10, when the roof caved in the middle killing many and leaving others injured.