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Scores killed after church roof collapses in Nigeria

At least 60 people in Nigeria have been killed after a roof collapsed onto churchgoers. Reports say the building was still under construction.

The roof of the Reigners Bible Church in Uyo, capital of the Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria, collapsed Saturday, killing at least 100 people, and perhaps many more, according to local media and officials.

A rescue official initially spoke of 60 bodies recovered from the debris, while the state-run Nigerian News Agency  said "between 50 and 200" could have been killed. But a hospital director said on Sunday that at least 160 died in the disaster.

Nigerian newspaper "Premium Times" tweeted out photos from the scene.

Hundreds of people were inside the church that was still under construction when metal girders gave way and the iron roof caved in. Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel was inside the church when the roof collapsed and escaped unhurt. The governor's spokesman Ekerete Udoh said the state government would investigate whether building standards were compromised.

Construction workers were rushing to finish the church in time for a ceremony to ordain founder Akan Weeks as a bishop. Weeks was also able to escape from the roof collapse unscathed.

Buildings collapse regularly in Nigeria due to corruption, with contractors using sub-standard materials and bribing inspectors to overlook poor work or a lack of building permits.

kbd/jr (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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