Rescue workers Saturday said over 60 casualties had been removed from the debris of the collapsed church building in Uyo, the capital of AkwaIbom State in southern Nigeria.
Some of the officials who spoke to Xinhua on condition of anonymity, said rescue team members are trying their best to rescue all the victims trapped under the collapsed building.
He said the rescue team at scene is made up of workers of Julius Berger Construction Company, the police, army, Fire Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Nigerian Medical Association and the Federal Road Safety Corps.
However, the state police spokesperson CordeliaNwawe said she could not confirm the casualty figure since rescue operations were ongoing.
She said security operatives had been drafted to maintain law and order at the scene to prevent hoodlums from cashing in on the situation.
"We cannot tell you the exact number of casualties now as the rescue operations are on," she said.
Meanwhile, the state governor Udom Emmanuel escaped unhurt as the Reigners Bible Church International building in Uyo collapsed during a worship session.
The governor was the special guest of honor at the consecration service of the Founder of the church, Apostle Akan Weeks, as a bishop.
The Reigners Bible Church International building, was still under construction when it collapsed.
Its iron rafters caved in as the service was ongoing.
The state government, in a statement made available to Xinhua, said a high powered panel of inquiry is being constituted to ascertain the immediate and remote factors leading to the collapse of the church building.
In 2014, some 70 persons lost their lives after a building collapse at a church in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos.
The incident occurred at the headquarters of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) Guest House in Ikotun downtown area of Lagos, which serves as a Mecca of sort to local people and foreigners from different parts of the world.
Building collapses are not rare in Nigeria, often because of poor construction practices. More than 50 people were killed in building collapses across Nigeria since 2014.
Source: Philippines News Agency