TB Joshua church collapse: Lagos death toll rises

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The number of deaths in Nigeria's church hostel collapse has risen to 115, including 84 South Africans, a South African minister has said. The worshippers were attending a gathering by Nigerian TV evangelist TB Joshua when a building collapsed in Lagos 10 days ago. Meanwhile, 25 survivors have returned to South Africa, where they will receive further medical care.

Cape Town – South African worshippers, some of whom were trapped and injured in the building collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) in Nigeria, reportedly attended TB Joshua's weekly sermon on Sunday.

The sermon was held next to the collapsed building site and according to eNCA, South African worshippers stood in the front rows, "waiting with bated breath for their preacher and self-proclaimed prophet to make his grand entrance".

A guesthouse at Scoan collapsed on 12 September as more floors were being constructed on top of the existing three-storey building, leaving at least 86 dead and dozens trapped in the debris.

It is believed that there were 349 South Africans visiting the church in the Ikotun neighbourhood of Nigeria's megacity Lagos at the time of the collapse, according to a Sapa report.

A total of 84 South Africans died, the highest number of South Africans to die on foreign soil in a single incident during peacetime.

'Theory of aerial sabotage'

Joshua told the congregation during his weekly morning service that he will be "travelling to South Africa to meet people from South Africa and other nations who find South Africa easier to visit, in memory of martyrs of faith".

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan visited the church on Saturday and promised to investigate the cause of the tragedy.

Jonathan said he would hold talks with stakeholders in the construction industry on how to prevent a repeat of the tragedy, adding that he had expressed his sympathies to South African President Jacob Zuma.

Meanwhile, a Times Live report says chaos, incompetence and lies are to blame for the death of many who could have survived.

The report said South Africans were left wondering how many lives could have been saved if TB Joshua’s church and Nigerian authorities had co-operated fully in rescue attempts.

TB Joshua has, however, denied lack of co-operation and stuck to his theory of aerial sabotage.





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