Two persons were killed on Monday in Akwa Ibom State by the wall of a building in a popular Urua Ederebo market in Urua Ederebo, Ikot Akpatek, Onna Local Government Area.
Reports say two market women were killed while 17 others were injured in the incident that happened in the hometown of Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The cause of the collapse is still unknown, but the market, which is over 50 years old, was renovated three years ago by the state government.
While the state’s Commissioner for Works, Ephraim Inyang-eyen, who led rescue operations, said no life was lost during the incident, the State Commissioner of Police, Murtala Mani, confirmed that two women died to the collapsed market wall.
Addressing reporters after evacuations, Mr Mani said: “It is not a building that collapsed. It was the wall of a local market. The market is a small market. Two market women died”.
The Chairman of Onna Local Government caretaker committee, Mr Joshua Ndoho, told Channels Television that the council would set up a committee on Tuesday to evaluate the structures in the market with a view to removing those seen to be too old.
He said” “It is obvious that the collapsed shop was too old and unfit for habitation.
“It is better we do not have a market than to have a market that people will die”.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, said the nine people who sustained injuries were quickly moved to Ibom Specialist Hospital for proper treatment by experts, claiming that nobody died in the incident.
The collapse of the market wall is coming nine days after a church building belonging to Reigners Bible International collapsed and killed over 27 worshippers while hundreds were injured.
The roof of the church had caved in during a service organised to confer Bishopric authority on the founder of the church.
Governor Emmanuel, who was in the church on that day, escaped unhurt.
An investigation into the cause of the collapse has been launched by the state government.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday continued its defence of the Akwa Ibom Governorship election.
A staff of the Commission, Dominic Okenna, told the tribunal in Abuja, that he was not aware of an official circular that barred the use of manual accreditation by Electoral Officers during the last governorship elections in the state.
Mr Okenna, who was appearing before the Justice Sadiq Umar-led three man panel as a witness, faulted an earlier testimony by one of the petitioner’s witnesses, Mr Samuel Akpan, who claimed that election never took place in the area.
He said he was responsible for the distribution of materials in the presence of all parties.
Lawyers to the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), aligned themselves with the testimony of the witness.
Under cross examination by the counsel to the petitioner, Mr Solomon Umoh, the witness said the fact that the results were not signed by some agents does not invalidate the process and the overall result of the election.
He, however, admitted that election did not take place in four out of the 19 polling units in Onna Local Government Area, where he served as an Electoral Officer.