An 11-year-old boy was confirmed dead and over 15 others injured after a church, St. Paul Catholic Church, collapsed in Adagbrasa-Ugolo community, in the Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State on Sunday.
Punch gathered that the walls of the 100-year-old church started falling while parishioners were waiting for the priest to commence mass around 7am.
The 11-year-old boy, Jeffrey Jackson, who had successfully escaped from the church hall, was later trapped while reportedly fleeing to a safer place.
The injured victims were taken to the Orerokpe General Hospital and another private hospital in the headquarters of the council.
A witness and vice chairman of the church, Mr Daniel Agiri, said the incident occurred after the foundation of a new structure to expand the church gave way.
According to him, “We were about to commence mass when we noticed a crack on the wall of the building from the altar. The incident happened rapidly. We are happy that the seminarian, who was to conduct mass, had not started. The moment the building started falling, everyone ran to safety. We lost one person and 15 persons got injured.
“We have recovered the deceased’s body from the rubble. Jeffery was a primary four pupil. My son’s leg was also broken. Some of the injured persons are in their 80s. A doctor told us that they were in stable condition.”
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, commiserated with the Delta State Government and the Catholic Church in Nigeria over the incident.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, promised to help ensure that survivors received necessary medical attention.
“My prayers are with the worshippers, affected families, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the people of Delta State on this morning’s collapse of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Okpe LGA.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and provide assistance to see that survivors are rescued and treated.
“Right now, we must all come together as Muslims, Christians, people of faith and most importantly, Nigerians to provide all necessary relief for the affected families and community.
“This tragedy affects us all and we join the Catholic community to mourn the deceased, even as rescue efforts are still under way,” he said.
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