TB Joshua church collapse: Lagos death toll rises
- 22 September 2014
- From the section Africa
The number of deaths in Nigeria's church hostel collapse has risen to 115, including 84 South Africans, a South African minister has said.
The worshippers were attending a gathering by Nigerian TV evangelist TB Joshua when a building collapsed in Lagos 10 days ago.
Meanwhile, 25 survivors have returned to South Africa, where they will receive further medical care.
Mr Joshua, one of Nigeria's best-known evangelists, is popular across Africa.
At least seven of the dead are Nigerian, rescue workers there have said.
The nationalities of the other victims is not clear, except for an official with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, whose death was announced last week.
The latest figures were provided by South Africa's minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe.
They have not been confirmed by Nigerian officials.
Sixteen of the wounded were in critical condition, with some having had limbs amputated and one developed gangrene in the toes, he said.
A 19-member medical team including specialised doctors, nurses and military paramedics who had been sent to Nigeria took care of the injured on board a military aircraft.
'Martyrs of faith'
Mr Joshua on Sunday announced plans to travel to South Africa to visit the families of the deceased.
"I will be travelling to South Africa to meet people from South Africa and other nations who find South Africa easier to visit, in memory of martyrs of faith," he told his congregation.
In his sermon, he referred to reports surrounding the incident as "persecution" and "propaganda".
- Founded Synagogue, Church of All Nations in the 1990s
- Runs Christian television station Emmanuel TV
- The ministry professes to heal all manner of illnesses
- Controversially this includes HIV/Aids
- Known as the "Prophet" by his followers
- Tours Africa, the US, the UK and South America
Rescue workers have said the building may have collapsed as a result of the construction of additional storeys without reinforcing the foundations.
Mr Joshua has blamed the incident on a small plane which had been circling over the building before it came crashing down on Friday 12 September, and suggested it was an attempt on his life.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan visited the church on Saturday and promised to investigate the cause of the tragedy.
He said he would hold talks with stakeholders in the construction industry on how to prevent a repeat of the tragedy, adding that he had expressed his sympathies to Mr Joshua and his church, as well as South African President Jacob Zuma and the families of the deceased.
Mr Joshua is known by his followers across the world as "The Prophet" or "The Man of God".
He claims to work miracles, including raising people from the dead and healing the sick.