67 South Africans killed in Nigeria building collapse

2014-09-16 20:57
Rescue workers gather at the site of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Rescue workers gather at the site of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

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Cape Town – Sixty-seven South Africans have died after a building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on Friday, according to the presidency.

In a statement released on Tuesday spokesperson Mac Maharaj said: “I am greatly saddened to announce that 67 South Africans died and scores of others sustained injuries, after a building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on Friday, 12 September 2014, in Lagos, in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The last death toll from the collapsed guesthouse at a mega-church in Nigeria was reported at 57 earlier on Tuesday.

Maharaj said: “Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues that have lost their loved ones in this heart-breaking tragedy. The whole nation shares the pain of the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who have lost their loved ones. We are all in grief.”

He directed the relevant government departments and entities to act with the utmost urgency to ensure that the presidency facilitate the movement of relevant family members to Nigeria, to identify the bodies.

“Government will keep the public informed of developments around this tragedy.”


Collapsed building

It was earlier reported that a total of 131 people were injured in the collapse of the hostel, which housed Nigerian and foreign followers of the popular preacher and televangelist TB Joshua.

Joshua's network of churches and a television station have attracted people from around the world to Lagos with promises of receiving miracles and prophecies from the man followers dub "The Prophet".

Joshua has suggested that a low-flying aircraft was responsible for the collapse and released security camera footage apparently showing a plane flying four times over the hostel before its collapse.

Ikotun is located to the west of Lagos's international aircraft.

The preacher has not commented directly on the deaths and initially claimed that only a few people were injured but on Sunday tweeted: "No matter how long a lie is sustained, truth will someday prevail."

Rescuers say the building was overburdened by additional floors being constructed on top of its existing foundations.

Lagos state government officials are investigating the cause of the collapse.


Read more on:    mac maharaj  |  pretoria  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  nigeria building collapse

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