Officials working to establish if South Africans were affected by Nigerian building collapse

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

Officials from the South African Mission in Lagos, Nigeria, are still liaising with rescue workers and Nigerian government officials to establish whether any South African citizens were affected after a guesthouse building belonging to popular Synagogue Church of All Nations at Ikotun, in downtown Lagos, collapsed on Friday.

“The Department is in contact with some of the organizers of the tour groups that travelled to the Synagogue. We know of at least five South African church tour groups that were at the Synagogue at the time of the collapse. However, it remains unclear how many South Africans were affected,” International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.

Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency on Monday said 45 dead bodies have been recovered, while 130 people were trapped in the building.

Pastor and leader of the church, Temitope Joshua, has attributed the cause of the collapse to a mysterious helicopter flying repeatedly over the building.

Joshua, dubbed "The Prophet", has an almost fanatical following among thousands of Nigerians - and lately foreigners, who say he has healing powers and his prophecies are true.

There was no immediate official government explanation for the collapse yet. However, emergency services officials said the lower two floors of the building located in the large church compound had already been operating as a guesthouse, and it appeared construction work was underway to add three more floors.

Many worshipers injured were rushed to Isolo and Alimosho General Hospital, while corpses were deposited at the mortuary.

Rescue efforts were still on.

Monyela said members of the public who wish to enquire about relatives can contact the department on a 24-hour basis using the following contact numbers: 012 351 0924 /012 351 1757. 

Image: indianexpress.com