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At least 60 people were killed as a crowded church collapsed in Nigeria

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The roof of a crowded church collapsed onto worshippers in southern Nigeria on Saturday, killing at least 60 people, witnesses and an official said.

The Reigners Bible Church International in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom state, was still under construction and workers had been rushing to finish it in time for Saturday's ceremony to ordain founder Akan Weeks as a bishop, congregants said.

Atiku Abubakar, the former vice president of Nigeria, tweeted out his condolences. 

Hundreds of people, including Gov. Udom Emmanuel, were inside when metal girders crashed onto worshippers and the corrugated iron roof caved in, they said. Emmanuel and Weeks, who preached that God will make his followers rich, escaped unhurt.

Bodies of at least 60 victims have been retrieved but the toll could mount as a crane removes debris, according to a rescue official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

The governor's spokesman, Ekerete Udoh, said the state government will hold an inquiry to investigate if anyone compromised building standards.

Buildings collapse regularly in Nigeria because of endemic corruption with contractors using sub-standard materials and bribing inspectors to ignore shoddy work or a lack of building permits.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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