The Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Umo Eno has donated a purse to the Salvation Army church to offset the burial expenses of 11 worshippers who lost their lives while returning from the church officers Council meeting in Lagos State.
The incident occurred on July 1, 2023 at the failed portion of the Ovia river bridge on Benin-Ore Lagos road of Edo State where eight other travellers were injured when Dangote truck rammed into a 14-seater Toyota Hiace Bus in the high way which has become a nightmare to road users.
Umo’s gesture by the Governor and family members of the accident victims, comes one week after a media show of the failed portion of the road by Edo State deputy governor, Mr Philip Shaibu who also mobilized divers to recover bodies of some accident victims that drown after the crash, were later recovered by local divers.
During an on-the-spot assessment of the accident scene where eight other survivors were taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin, for urgent medical attention, Shaibu, ordered urgent repair of the federal government road that is yet to receive attention.
Addressing worshipers at the memorial service held at Akwa Ibom South East Zonal Headquarters of The Salvation Army Church, Akai Ubium, Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of the State in honour of the victims, the Governor of Akwa Ibom explained that a separate donation to the church missionary and to the families of the deceased, adding that the money would be paid directly to the beneficiaries, and thereafter prayed God to strengthen families of the departed and the church in their moment of grief.
He disclosed his Government plans to takeover the Salvation Army Secondary School, Akai Ubium, Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, to allow for the desired interventionist work for efficient service delivery to the grassroots in line with the administration’s Agenda.
According to him, “We came here today to say to the church and families of those that lost their loved ones that it is well. We just came to say it is well.
“I have been told of stories of both parents going, I have been told of two sons from one family and so many stories. But we came here as the Government and people of Akwa Ibom from across the state, represented by all the senatorial districts leaders to say to you please accept our sincere condolences.
“It is painful and I find it difficult to do the work of Consoler-in-Chief in this circumstance, but I know that the holy spirit is the Comforter-in-Chief and the Holy Spirit will be made available to comfort you, the church and families of those that lost their dear ones.
“At times like this, we are short of words. We are just short of the right words to use, but let our coming here today speak to the fact that this Government has human feeling.
“Let our coming here today speak to the fact that we care about our people wherever they are. Let our coming here today show that we have respect to the souls of those that have departed. I think that is the message that we have brought.
“That is why as a Government, we have decided with all of us, the Service Commanders, all our people came in from Abuja just to be with you as a state, to show our sympathy, to show our solidarity and to show to you that you are not alone”, he consoled.
Umo also gave his commitment in the retention of the name of the school, noting that Principals sent to the school will be of the Salvation Army denomination even with the government’s ownership of the institution and particularly commended the mission for sustaining the school overtime.
Delivering a sermon tagged “Trusting God”, drawn from the Bible book of Job Chapter 13 verse15, the Salvation Army Divisional Director of Women Ministries, DDWM, Akwa Ibom South-East, Major Esther Uwak, admonished the Church not to put their trust in man, materials or anything that is not eternal, but should found their hope in the Almighty and eternal God, as the biblical Job did.
Highlights of the service were prayers offered for the comfort of the deceased families and repose of the souls of the departed, a Press statement from the Media Unit of Akwa Ibom Government House said.