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How Providence saved Ini Edo from Akwa Ibom tragedy


Ini Edo

Ini Edo

• Why we can’t release victims’ names, police say

But for a cancelled flight and traffic gridlock, Nollywood actress, Ini Edo, would have been at the Reigners Bible Church when its roof collapsed, killing dozens of people on Saturday.

The Special Assistant on Tourism to Akwa Ibom State Governor took to her Instagram page to narrate how she escaped death and to condole with families who lost their loved ones in the tragic incident.

She wrote: “Two days ago, I was very bitter about the unreliable nature of some of our airlines cancelling flights without prior notice thereby hindering my plans to attend a church service ceremony held in Uyo. Now out of determination, I took a flight to Calabar with the hope of being in Uyo just in time for the service since the journey between Calabar and Uyo was just about an hour.

“The journey ended up taking over seven hours because of an unexplained traffic. No accident, just headlock traffic. Whilst in the car, I started wondering why all my efforts to be at the service was being thwarted… then I got a call, that the entire church building had collapsed during the course of the service …. I was shocked. Once again, God had saved me.

“My heart goes out to the families of the departed. May the good Lord grant them the heart to bear the loss. Everyday we see is a blessing, it’s not because we are special or better. It’s the exceeding grace of our Lord Jesus. I am so humbled and grateful to God for preserving me.”

However, details have emerged of how an aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel, Ernest Idem, lost his life in the process of saving the governor from the collapsed church building.

Ubong Mboho, an evangelist, who was inside the collapsed building told newsmen that he witnessed the governor’s aide sacrifice his life to save the governor.

“He (the governor’s aide) was standing close to the governor. I saw him push the governor away from danger when the building started falling,” said Mr. Mboho whose father, Elijah Mboho, an influential archbishop in Akwa Ibom, was scheduled to perform the ‘enthronement’. Unfortunately, Idem couldn’t get out alive; he was hit by the iron beams and he died instantly,” Mr. Mboho said.

The late Mr. Idem, from Ibesikpo-Asutan Local Council, was said to have worked with Zenith Bank before he joined the protocol unit of the state government when Mr. Emmanuel became the governor.

Mboho said he was making effort to save his own father – the archbishop – when the incident occurred. He said the archbishop and his wife were unhurt, but that some persons within his entourage sustained injuries. He later got involved in the rescue operation as soon as his father was taken away to a safe location, within the church premises.

One of the persons Mboho said he helped rescue was Emmanuel Ekpenyong, the Chief Whip of the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly. “The iron pillar had fallen on his leg. I had to rush to our bus for hydraulic jack, which I used in lifting the iron (beam) before we could pull his leg out. He was in great pains and was screaming ‘My leg! My leg! My leg!’ while we were making effort to rescue him,”

Also, a source told newsmen that the church choirmaster and his family were among those who lost their lives. A large crowd of people gathered outside the church perimeter fence to have a look at the collapsed building.

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