At least 50 persons escaped death on Monday after an uncompleted church building belonging to the National Apostolic Church of Nigeria collapsed at Agudiama-Epie, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, under a heavy rainstorm.
But 20 out of the number were not lucky enough. They were pulled out of the rubbles with various degrees of injuries.
The building reportedly caved in at about 10am when the victims ran into it during a heavy downpour that caused panic in the state.
The rainstorm wrecked havoc in some parts of the state capital, pulling off roofs of some buildings and electric poles.
Most of the trapped victims who were later rescued by sympathisers were identified as semi-skilled workers.
The Nation gathered that the victims suddenly heard a loud sound but mistook it for a thunder.
“We thought the crack we heard was that of a loud thunder. But before we know it, we were covered by the rubbles”, a victim who pleaded anonymity was quoted as saying.
One of the victims, Emmanuel Paul, said: “We were working on buildings nearby when the storm and rain came. We took shelter inside the church.
“We were more than 50 taking shelter in the church building when it collapsed. More than 20 persons were injured. Some could not move and they had to be removed in wheelbarrows.”
The state Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd) and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hillary Opara, visited the site of the incident.
However, before a rescue team of Julius Berger got to the scene, sympathisers had rescued those trapped in the rubbles.
The Commissioner of Works, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said the government would investigate the cause of the collapse.
He said the founder of the church would be invited to defend the quality of material used in erecting the building.