Christians in northern Nigeria were without weighing their options Monday, April 23, after a packed church building collapsed during a recent Easter vigil service, killing at least 22 people and injuring over 30 others.
The incident in Benue state on Easter Sunday, April 8, took place hours after a powerful car bombing claimed nearly 40 lives in Kaduna city, Catholic church representatives and officials said.
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) service quoted Government spokesman Cletus Akwaya as saying there was “a heavy downpour before the building of St Robert’s Catholic Church” in the state’s Adamgbe village “caved in.”
He said the incident should not be linked to any terrorist attack.
Fourteen women and six children were among the dead, Akwaya said, adding that the roof of the building was blown off by the wind.
The building had over 3,000 worshippers who were initially holding an outdoor service before a heavy downpour followed by storm led them in, well-informed UCAN said.
Violent storms and flooding are often associated with the rainy season in Nigeria, which witnesses heavy downpour across the country, Christians explained.
The incident came hours after a car bombing rocked the northern city of Kaduna, which has been long at the center of religious, ethnic and political violence in the nation.
At least 38 people were killed and many others injured in the attack, which took place when officials stopped the vehicle as it approached a church, BosNewsLife reported earlier.
Just hours later, a bomb exploded in the central city of Jos, injuring several people, news reports said.
No group had so far claimed responsibility for the blasts, but the Boko Haram militant group reportedly threatened a possible bombing during the Easter in some parts of the north.
Boko Haram, or ‘Western Education is a Sin’ , aims to set-up an Islamic state and ordered Christians to leave the region.