Lagos to launch inquest into deadly Nigeria church collapse

2014-10-03 16:38

Nigeria said today it will begin an inquest on October 13 into the cause of a church building collapse in Lagos that killed 115 people, including 84 South Africans.

Lagos state justice commissioner Ade Ipaye said the coroner would seek to establish “the cause and manner” of the September 12 disaster at a guesthouse within the compound of the pastor TB Joshua.

Since the collapse, concerns have mounted about the scope of an inquiry, including whether Nigeria’s well-documented culture of impunity for the rich and powerful would undermine a thorough investigation.

Joshua, who has thousands of followers in Nigeria and across the world, counts African heads of state among his flock.

The justice commissioner said the inquest will begin with an open invitation to appear at Lagos High Court for anyone with relevant information about the tragedy.

Joshua, a self-proclaimed miracle worker, has blamed the incident on sabotage and has vowed to rebuild the guesthouse at his Synagogue Church of All Nations.

About 350 South Africans were thought to be visiting the church at the time of the tragedy.

Anger at the response to the disaster has been acute in South Africa, particularly over claims that lives could have been saved if church officials had not blocked access to rescue workers for three days.

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