Dozens dead and wounded after church roof collapses in Nigeria

The number of dead is expected to rise further

Dozens dead and wounded after church roof collapses in Nigeria

Image via @MrUdomEmmanuel on Twitter

The roof of a church has collapsed during a packed service in Nigeria, killing at least 160 worshippers, a hospital director has said.

Morgues are overflowing and the number of dead is expected to rise much further, Etete Peters of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital told the Associated Press.

Dozens of people were also injured in the collapse in the southern city of Uyo in Akwa Ibom state.

The Reigners Bible Church International was reportedly still under construction when it was being used for a ceremony to ordain church founder Akan Weeks as a bishop.

Witnesses said hundreds of people were inside when metal girders crashed and the corrugated iron roof caved in.

Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom, was attending the service at the time. He and Mr Weeks escaped unhurt.

Mr Emmanuel said: "It's not a good thing. We are really, really devastated that this could happen.

"But at the same time, I pray that people should be calm and let's at least say that the situation, let's see the causalities that we have and then be rest assured on the part of government we will do everything possible to make sure that this will never happen again in this state."

Governor spokesman Ekerete Udoh said the state government will hold an inquiry to investigate if building standards were compromised.

Buildings collapse regularly in Nigeria because of endemic corruption with contractors using sub-standard materials and bribing inspectors to ignore shoddy work or a lack of building permits.

In 2014, 116 people died when a multistorey guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos.