The number of people who died in last Friday afternoon’s collapsed building at Synagogue
Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Ikotun Egbe, Lagos, was grossly underestimated, it has emerged.
An indication that the death toll had been under-reported came today when President Jacob Zuma of South Africa announced that 67 South Africans died in the tragedy. The building, being used as a guest house for visiting faithful, collapsed while being converted from a two-storey to a five-storey by the church owner, Pastor TB Joshua, who claims to be a iracle worker. The conversion was without government approval.
In a statement released today by his office, President Zuma said: “I am greatly saddened to announce that 67 South Africans died and scores of others sustained injuries, after a building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on Friday, 12 September 2014, in Lagos, in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This is a particularly difficult time for South Africa. Not in the recent history of our country have we had this large number of our people die in one incident outside the country.
“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues that have lost their loved ones in this heart-breaking tragedy. The whole nation shares the pain of the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who have lost their loved ones. We are all in grief.
“As we mourn this sudden and tragic death of our fellow compatriots, I have directed the relevant Government departments and entities to act with the utmost urgency to ensure that we facilitate the movement of relevant family members to Nigeria to identify the bodies of their loved ones and to ensure that we repatriate the remains as soon as possible under the circumstances.
“I would like to take this opportunity also to thank all family members and friends who have provided information to Government, which information has assisted the South African High Commission in Nigeria in its efforts to locate our fellow citizens.
“I would also like to commend all affected families for their patience and resolve during this very painful period.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, I would like to thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their support during this difficult time. We also send our sincere condolences to the people of Nigeria and all other nations affected by this tragedy.
“I would like to assure all affected families that the Government will provide all the necessary support.
“Government will keep the public informed of developments around this tragedy.”
Source News Express