Death Toll In TB Joshua Building Collapse Rises
The number of dead from Nigeria’s church building collapse four days ago has risen to 60, rescuers say, as they try to locate more survivors.
Eight bodies were pulled from the rubble of the two-storey guesthouse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos early on Tuesday.
One woman was pulled out alive, and walked away with only a broken wrist.
The hostel housed followers of the popular Nigerian preacher and TV evangelist TB Joshua.
Workers slowed down digging in the wreckage of the guesthouse after the woman was rescued.
“It’s going to be slower because we believe we can recover more people alive,” Ibrahim Farinloye, regional coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told journalists.
Rescuers are now concentrating efforts on the area around the hostel’s restaurant, where previous survivors were found, Mr Farinloye added.
TB Joshua, one of Nigeria’s best known televangelists, had said a small plane had been circling over the building before it collapsed on Friday afternoon, and suggested it was an attempt on his life.
“They came to call me that there was an airplane hovering over the church. They said it is like it wanted to land,” his statement said.
About 30 minutes later it flew over the building several times, he said.
“About five minutes after, the building came down,” he said.
He had given journalists a CCTV video clip of the alleged low-flying plane, urging them “to use their discretion to write on what they saw”.
On Tuesday, however, a rescue official said the likeliest cause of the building’s collapse was the construction of additional storeys without reinforcing the foundations.
At least 130 people, including many foreigners, were pulled out of the rubble.
TB Joshua, who is also known as the Prophet, regularly preaches to large crowds at a mega-church in Lagos’s Ikotun district.
His followers in Nigeria and abroad believe he has the gifts of healing and prophecy.