MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Authorities of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council, have commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s Government for the prompt action of constituting a panel of inquiry to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the collapse of building housing the Salvation Gospel Ministry Church at Okpanam Road, Asaba.
The building collapsed in the evening of January 11, 2022 while service was ongoing.
In a statement jointly signed by the Chairman of Council, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu and Secretary, Comrade Patrick Ochei on Wednesday, the journalists expressed sympathy with families of the victims.
According to the statement, “We sincerely send our heartfelt condolences to families of the deceased victims and, most especially, commiserate with the church.
“Let it be emphasised that there is no fire without smoke. On this note, the Government should reconfirm to Deltans if there was any approval for the building in the first instance, and also, if the reconstruction work was approved.
“While we do not want to predict the outcome of Police investigations and the panel of inquiry, we wish to state that it is most unfortunate for any business man or professional engineer to embark on reconstruction of a building still housing human beings.”
The Council added that “once again, we are saddened by the unfortunate and collateral death of some church members, especially children who were waiting on God for a fruitful year.
“We are by this statement however, admonishing our colleagues, to endeavour to report the stories as they develop in a more professional and ethical manner.”
The Council warned that “We will not condone our member or members who for urgency of filing their reports, will concoct and manufacture figures of casualties not based on authority verifications.
“Nevertheless, we urge the government to carry out a thorough investigation and make the outcome of their report public and deal decisively with anyone, be it the landlord, the engineer or even the tenants found culpable of not conforming to ethical standards and safety measures in this circumstance.”