Obong Ini Ekpo, counsel to founder of the Reigners’ Bible Church, Apostle Akan Weeks, told the Commission of Inquiry that his client is one of the victims of the collapsed church building in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The state government had set up the Commission of Inquiry to determine the immediate and remote cause of Reigners’ Bible Church building that collapsed and killed scores of worshippers as well as injuring hundreds on December 10, 2016.
Ekpo, having listened to the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, who asked for full compensation for victims of the collapsed church when cross-examined, stated that Weeks was also a victim of the church disaster and so he should equally be compensated by government.
The counsel, on Friday, stated that his client also suffered both physical injuries and psychological trauma in the incident.
Ukpong had recommended that whoever is found culpable for the church’s collapse should be made to pay ‘reasonable compensation to the loss of lives and property.’ His recommendation was part of his testimony and answers to cross-examination by Ekpo.
The health commissioner also recommended that a law be enacted to make it mandatory for all hospitals in the state to treat and stabilise accident victims before demanding payment. He added that the law was necessary to save accident victims’ lives.
According to him, the law will prohibit any hospital from turning down people in life threatening situations or refusing to attend to them, except money is deposited.
He revealed that in a situation where patients escape without paying the hospital bills, the state government should be responsible for such medical bills.