A high powered delegation from the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Uyo Branch visited Reigners Bible Church, along Uyo village, Monday, to access the level of wreckage following Saturday’s collapse of the church building.
The team led by an erudite Professor of Structural Engineering, Prof. Charles Uko, a former Deputy Governor, Engr. Chris Ekpeyong, Chief Inspector of Engineering Regulatory Monitoring (ERM) of the Council four Regulation of Engineering (COREN) in the State, Engr. Joseph Inwang and Chairman of NSE, Uyo branch, Engr. Mfon Udoikpong had a first hand assessment of the site to ascertain from an engineering construction and design point of view, the immediate and remote cause of the structural failure.
Also on the team were practicing engineers as well as lecturers from the Faculty of Engineering, Akwa Ibom State University and the University of Uyo, together with some members of the professional body.
Though the committee is yet to conclude its investigations, some of the members opined that the building might have caved in as a result of non adherence to specified standards for engineering construction and inefficient supervision of the work.
The Preventive Investigation and Failure Analysis Committee (PIFAC) of the NSE are expected to get in touch with authorities of the Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) within the next 24 hours to ascertain if the building was initially approved for construction.
While a formal report is expected from the team of Engineers within the week, some members of the society called for initiation of effective legislation that will guide engineering design and construction, proposing that adequate laws should be put in place to ensure that only qualified and professionally trained Engineers (From NSE or COREN) are drafted in to supervise construction work, to avert reoccurrence of such devastating calamity.
They argued that such legislation will empower the ERM team of the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) to monitor and ensure appropriate standards are maintained before, during and after construction work, to guarantee safety of workers as well as people who will occupy such structure after completion of work.
This position was corroborated by the publicity secretary of the body, Engr. Ukeme Okpob, who called for members of the public to remain calm, while investigations are underway, and promised that the NSE as a professional body will do its best to ensure standards are adhered to at all times to avert a repeat of such ugly incidence.