Collapsed St Paul Catholic Church, Ugolo
A church building housing worshippers of the St Paul Catholic Church in Ugolo, Adagrasa, Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State has collapsed killing at least two persons with several others injured. The building was said to have collapsed on the worshippers while they were waiting for the priest to arrive to conduct mass service.
The worshippers were said not to have any premonition of the impending disaster as they sang and dance to God unaware of the danger that was lurking within. A loud deafening noise thereafter brought the building crumbling down on the poor worshippers who made frantic efforts to escape the doom. Many however were not as lucky as they were trapped within the collapsed debris.
It is widely reported that one parishioner an 11-year-old boy by name Jeffrey Jackson died as a result while fleeing from the crushing debris. Over 15 others are said to be injured most of whom are elderly persons. The injured were conveyed to a nearby hospital in the local council and are said to be responding to treatment.
The news of the church collapse has reverberated throughout the state and beyond with prominent Nigerians especially politicians lamenting the unfortunate incident and sending in their condolences. The Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa speaking through his Chief Secretary Mr Charles Aniagwu described the incident as unfortunate and sad.
The Governor prayed for the soul of the departed one while condoling with the family of the deceased who died as a result. According to the Governor “This is indeed a very sad and unfortunate incident”.
On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I commiserate with the family of the deceased and those injured, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chairman of Okpe Local Government Council, Chief Julius Scott, the Orodje of Okpe HRM Orhue 1, Major General Felix Mujakperuo rtd. The entire Ugolo Community in the Okpe Kingdom over the unfortunate incident.
“It is our prayer that the soul of the deceased will rest in peace and the injured will experience a quick recovery. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with the people of Ugolo in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta state”.
Meanwhile, the Delta State Commissioner for Works Chief James Augoye that same Sunday led a government delegation to the scene of the incident and also visited the injured in the hospital. He conveyed the state government sympathy to the deceased family, the injured, the Church, the congregation as well as the community and council area and promised that government will assess require help and make it available to them.
The church building is said to be 100 years old and has stood the wear tear all these years even though its structure was not very solid. The Vice Chairman of the Church Mr Daniel Agiri revealed that the collapse of the church building occurred when a new foundation structure for the expansion of the existing one gave way thereby bringing the total building down.
Gov Okowa of Delta State
He appealed to the state government and the Warri Catholic Diocese to construct a new building for them to worship. He regretted that the unfortunate incident occurred while they were planning for the centenary celebration of the founding of the Parish.