In the wake of the collapse building of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN in Ikotun area of Lagos on Friday, September 12, sixty seven South Africans are reportedly among the worshipers that died.
President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Tuesday.
Scores more sustained injuries when the multi-storey guesthouse belonging to the church collapsed on Friday.
“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,” said Zuma.
“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,” he said.
Zuma said he had directed various government departments to ensure that relatives of the deceased were taken to Nigeria to identify their loved ones’ bodies.
Government wanted to ensure that the bodies were repatriated as soon as possible. Zuma thanked the families of the deceased and the Nigerian government for their co-operation with the South African government.
He also extended his condolences to Nigeria and all other nations affected by this tragedy. “May the souls of the departed compatriots rest in peace,” he said.
Nigerian preacher and televangelist TB Joshua on Sunday linked the deadly building collapse at his Lagos megachurch to a suspicious aircraft but rescue workers ruled out the theory of foul play, AFP reports.
Joshua, dubbed “The Prophet” by fanatical followers because of his purported predictions and healing powers, showed footage of the moments leading up to the collapse on his emmanuel.tv network.
Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said 42 people were killed in Friday’s incident, while 130 escaped or were pulled out alive from the rubble.
In the security camera footage, apparently from opposite the vast church compound, what is described as an aircraft is seen over the building four times at 11.30am (1030 GMT), 11.43am, 11:45am and 11.54am.
The uncompleted building, five floors of which are visible above a high wall, is then seen to collapse at 12.44pm, throwing up huge clouds of dust into the air.
“After the incident, the strange aircraft does not return,” a commentary accompanying the images adds.
There was no independent verification of the authenticity of the footage but Joshua has said he would make it available to Nigeria’s security agencies.