Nigeria building collapse death toll at 80

Rescuers have recovered more bodies from the rubble of a megachurch collapse, rising the death toll to 80. (Reuters)

Rescuers have recovered more bodies from the rubble of a megachurch collapse, rising the death toll to 80. (Reuters)

The guesthouse at popular preacher and televangelist TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) came down last Friday, leaving scores trapped in the debris.

“The death toll is now 80. We recovered 10 more bodies yesterday evening while the number of those rescued stands at 131,” said Ibrahim Farinloye, of the National Emergency Management Agency.

The identities of the victims were yet to be ascertained because the church, whose officials denied rescue workers access in the first three days, was not co-operating, he added.

“The church has refused to furnish us with the identities and nationalities of those in the building when it caved in,” he told AFP.  Rescue missions had been due to finish on Wednesday but Farinloye said the search had been extended.

SA deaths
Some 300 South Africans were said to be visiting the church at at the time of the incident and the country’s President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that 67 had died.

Joshua is one of Nigeria’s most well-known Pentecostal preachers and is referred to by followers across the world as “The Prophet” or “The Man of God”.

He claims to work miracles, including raising people from the dead, healing the sick, and foreseeing disasters.

He has yet to comment directly on the deaths and has suggested a low-flying aircraft or Boko Haram militants were to blame for the collapse.

The Lagos state government has ordered urgent structural integrity tests on all buildings in the sprawling Scoan compound, including the main church, which Joshua says was designed by the Holy Spirit. – AFP

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