The Akwa Ibom State Government has dismissed the rumour that it was planning a mass burial for persons who lost their lives when a church building collapsed last Saturday in Uyo, the state capital.
It disclosed that families of those killed in the Reigners Bible Church International Inc building collapse have been invading the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital to take away corpses of their relatives.
At a press conference held on Wednesday at the Banquet Hall, Uyo, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, lamented that state government officials had been humiliated by family members of the deceased while demanding for corpses of their relatives.
He maintained that government would not release their corpses until the conclusion of investigations by security agencies on the incident, adding that the decision of government was in line with standard practice.
“As much as we understand their desire to claim the remains of their loved ones, government also wishes to appeal to the family members of those who passed on to exercise patience as their demands would be met as soon as security agencies conclude their investigations. This is standard practice under these circumstances,” he said.
Giving a breakdown of the casualty figures, Dr Ukpong said that out of the 168 victims who were admitted and treated, only 25 of them died while 30 have been discharged after being medically certified to have recovered.
The health commissioner mentioned that government was yet to ascertain the identities of four corpses, adding that a DNA test would be conducted on the dead bodies.
According to him, government has taken up the financial responsibility for all medical charges which he disclosed runs into millions of naira.
Dr Ukpong called on well-meaning persons to make blood donations to help save the lives of injured persons.