#BlackSaturday: Does Akan Weeks Need Compensation Or Correction?
By Edet Umoren
I have followed the on-going legal fireworks on the Church building that collapsed in Uyo, and again I grief to note that there are certain things not worth keeping quiet over. I read the interview of former governor Victor Attah, an elder statesman and seasoned architect and although it came late, it still is a valid point worthy of note.
Attah said that the Reigners Church that collapsed on people was nothing more than a construction site and as such only people with safety devices were supposed to have accessed the premises. In other words, the entire congregation had no business to have been there form the condition that building. No one in his right senses would have gone into that building if he knew the actual condition it was. And that means the victims would not have been there if they knew that it was a dangerous construction site or a dead trap.
Only the Pastor knew this truth. Did he issue a warning or even make to apologise to people about the ugly incident? Of course no. it is rather appalling that in trying to exonerate himself he has made some careless statements that tend to embarrass other people and leave him out a saint.
For example, we first heard that a man who personally ran out when the building came tumbling, only went around to tie his leg in a shameless makeup to claim that he has been injured and may lose his leg. Although it was quite clear that there was nothing wrong with his leg, but was losing a leg in any way commensurate with the over 28 lives that vanished in a fell swoop in one man’s edification project? I know people will say that this is insensitive, but how will the issue of seeking compensation from government sound like?
During the course of the enquiries into the calamity by the State government set-up commission of enquiry, the counsel to Pastor Akan Weeks also sought to lay claims to compensations(you can imagine that), saying that Weeks had also sustained injuries in the crash building. What this means is that the government is now owing Akan Weeks some form of recompense after his building nearly took the lives of several innocent citizens.
What did he say again about being a special friend of the Governor or government of Akwa Ibom State. We may not believe the rumours that Akan dropped the governor’s name in evading due process and avoiding the scrutiny of the building project, like the regulatory authorities. Let’s not go there. When did attending a church programme make one a special friend of the Governor? I appreciate the nature of Mr Udom Emmanuel, a Sunday school teacher in our church, in Surulere for many years and one who always tasked himself with organizing the prayer conventions of the church. Born to parents in the Qua Iboe Church faith, he has maintained the family doctrine jealously and is easily seen in programmes in other churches where he is invited. That I am sure happened in December 2016 when he worshipped with other invited guests at the Collapsed Church. So it is therefore suggestive for the embattled Pastor to come and used the borrowed robes in public, that he is the governor’s special friend. There is nothing special about Pastor Akan, who Governor Emmanuel gave regards as he does to other members of the clergy. Or could he be trying to tell the panel of enquiry that he has immunity as a ‘special’ friend and should be treated as a sacred cow?
Does Mr Weeks know the damage on the wounded people, when he attempts to shift the blame of the collapse on Government. No one in his right senses will lead several families into this nature of calamity, and turn around to blame the state government. The claim that the government failed to provide the capital city authority with money to buy equipment that would have been used to demolish the illegal church structure, exposes the nature of his spiritual sincerity or insincerity, as the case may be. Or is he telling us that the government also ordered him to refuse the scaffold that supported the roof of the church on the eve of the calamity? Engr. Uwem Okoko says in strong terms that he spoke at length to Pastor Weeks, begging him against removing the temporary support structure at the building, and has even asked the details of the phone call to be made public by the service providers. Other testimonies claim that the Man of God gave people N50,000 to remove the scaffold against the advice of the contractor. But Akan Weeks had earlier denied ordering the removal of the temporary support pillar.
What manner of man of God would be refused approval for an illegal structure, and instead of seeking corrections he turns round and gets an alleged verbal approval after ‘seeing’ an official of the agency? If men of God have started talking from both sides of their mouths without any fear of God, I wonder the nature of the message they preach to their worshipers.
Without prejudice to the Commission of Inquiry, Akan must apologize to Akwa Ibom people and the public for the unnecessary cover-ups and lies that have tended to rub tar on the image of the Christian community.
…Umoren sent in this piece from Lagos