The popular Urua Ederebo Market in Ikot Akpatek in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, hometown of Governor Udom Emmanuel, collapsed yesterdway morning killing four persons while scores of others sustained injuries.
This came barely a week after the collapse of Reigners Bible Church, Uyo which killed at least 26 persons and injured more than 200.
The injured were said to have been taken to Immanuel Lutheran Hospital, Eket, about seven kilometres from the market while the dead were immediately evacuated to undisclosed morgues.
“I do not know whether some of those who appeared dead would be revived in the hospital, but I countered four bodies,” a trader told Daily Sun on phone.
When reminded that government had confirmed that no life was lost, the source said: “I do not understand what government hopes to gain by playing down or denying figures of victims of disaster in the state. Last week, the government was busy lying to defend a church whose building collapsed and killed over 100 people due to glaring technical error.
“Today again, the government team arrived as soon as the incident occurred, and instead of going to Immanuel General Hospital to ascertain if the facility can handle the situation, the commissioner turned himself into a journalist to throw intimidating questions at the timid villagers to cover up the situation,” he said.
But Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang, who led an emergency rescue team to the scene of the incident, said no life was lost during the incident and told the people to stop spreading sensational news that were not verifiable.
Also, Chairman of the transition committee for Onna Local Government Area of the state, Mr. Joshua Ndoho, said no life was lost in the incident.
Although the injured were immediately evacuated, eyewitnesses vehemently opposed denial by Inyang that no life was lost.
Commissioner of Police, Murtala Mani confirmed that only two women died as a result of an old market wall that fell directly on them
“No. Only two women died. There is an old wall that fell directly on them so they died, normal market business is ongoing,” he said.
The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) urged the government to ensure the domestication of the 1992 Urban and Regional Planning Law to check the alarming rate at which building are collapsing in the state.
Acting Chairman, Dr. Beulah Ofem, in a press conference in Uyo, said such law, when domesticated would aid effective management of physical development of the state.