The collapsed building site
REPORTS FROM Nigeria Friday evening said an estimated 50 persons were feared dead at the headquarters of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), headed by Prophet T.B. Joshua, when a six-storey building on the premises collapsed.
Hundreds were said to have sustained various degrees of injury, with quite a number of people unaccounted for.
Nigeria’s relief and disaster management agency, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said rescue mission was underway but could not officially confirm the exact number of casualties.
‘A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigerian at the scene reports that ambulances were seen taking people out of the collapsed building to the Isolo General Hospital,’ the online site of Nigeria’s Punch newspaper reported.
Other reports said rescue workers had cordoned off the tragedy site and that journalists were being chased out of the area while armed police were there to disperse a curious crowd which kept swelling.
The collapsed building was a wing of the church’s mission house that served as a guesthouse for foreign nationals who visit the religious centre—an indication that the deceased are most likely to include non-Nigerians.
According to punchng.com, an eyewitness said the building tumbled down around 1.30 pm Friday.
The news network further quoted the source to have said that the collapsed building was originally built as a four-storey but just two months ago, it was extended to a six storey to allow for the accommodation of more church visitors.
‘Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency and the Nigerian Security and Civil DefenceCorps were also on the ground. LASEMA officials were denied access into the premises of the church while journalists were also chased away from the scene of the incident. People who attempted to take pictures of the scene were harassed by members of the church,’ the site added.
Leadership of the church had not made any official comment on the tragedy as at press time Friday night, although the incident had gained international attention and sparked a mixed reaction on social media networks.
While many expressed sympathy and concern, others wondered why Prophet T.B. Joshua, reputed to have predicted many disasters the world over, could not have seen beforehand that a tragedy was about to befall his church.
BY Halifax Ansah-Addo
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