A pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Akwa Ibom State has insured the lives of 500 of his members, following a warning by the state government that the area is prone to landslide.
The state government had issued an evacuation notice to all property owners along the Uyo Village Road, where the church is located. The notice was issued after another church, Reigners’ Bible Church, collapsed.
In 2000, the state government had designated the area a forest reserve and declared all the structures erected in the place illegal.
Speaking during a media interaction in Uyo on Tuesday, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Ime Ekpo, said the RCCG and other property owners had refused to move out of the disaster-prone area despite the evacuation notice served on them.
According to Ekpo, government had to order the RCCG to insure the lives of its members in case the church building collapsed during service, since the church had refused to heed government’s directive to quit the area.
He said: “They say they have approval, but I will like to see such approval. That church (Redeemed Christian Church of God) structure, we have already given them demolition notice.
“When they came begging, I told them that in about three to four years, that structure will come down on its own because the erosion behind the church is very active. By the time we went on inspection, even the first fence they erected had gone down.
“So, what I insisted they should do is to post an insurance of 500 worshippers, so that if anything happens, the families will have something to fall back on. So, they have done that and I have made sure that it is active on a yearly basis.
“There are a lot of illegal structures in Uyo. In this ministry, we have already set up a demolition committee. We have already identified structures that we need to bring down so that others will also know that before they erect a structure, they must get approval.”