President Goodluck Jonathan today visited the collapsed guesthouse
at a mega-church in Lagos, promising to investigate the cause of the
tragedy as the death toll hit 86, rescuers said on Saturday.
This was part of his visit to Lagos on his party’s, Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP), South West Zone endorsement as the sole candidate for the
party’s flag-bearer ahead of the 2015 general elections.
“The president came to the church this morning to see things for
himself. He met with Prophet T.B. Joshua and expressed his condolences
to the bereaved families,” Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency
Management Agency told our correspondent.Bis Dosumu
Farinloye said Jonathan promised to investigate the cause of the September 12
collapse of the guesthouse at Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan)
which left scores trapped in the debris.
Farinloye said the death toll now stood at 86 as against the previous
figure of 84 after the various emergency teams involved in the
operation had reconciled their figures.
It was also gathered that President Jonathan promised to work with
Lagos state government to curb the rate of building collapse.
Farinloye could not say if the new death toll included 84 South
Africans who had been confirmed dead in the incident by the country’s
high commissioner to Nigeria Lulu Mnguni.
It is believed that there were 349 South Africans visiting the popular
church in the Ikotun district of the city at the time of the collapse.
The church’s leader Joshua, who has blamed the incident on sabotage,
is one of Nigeria’s renowned Pentecostal preachers and is
referred to by followers across the world as “The Prophet” or “The Man
He claims to work miracles, including raising people from the dead and
healing the sick, and foreseeing disasters.
The Lagos state government had accused the church of adding extra
floors to the existing structure without approval.
It has ordered urgent structural integrity tests on all buildings in
the sprawling compound, including the main church, which Joshua says
was designed by the Holy Spirit.
Speaking with newsmen after a condolence visit to the Church, Sen.
Obanikoro, the State Minister for Defence urged Nigerians to remain
calm as the mystery would be unravelled.
“We must not- pre empt the outcome of the investigation.
“The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the police and the
police will do all it can to conclude investigations swiftly.
“My appeal is that people should wait for the outcome of the
investigation.” he added.
“Human lives are involved and so the issue must not be trivialised or
“I am here to commiserate with the Church and all the people that lost
their lives” the Minister said.
He, urged journalists to be mindful of what they write while reporting
“We must remember that the families of those that died are there and
so we must try not to hurt them more with our reportage.