Lagos collapse ‘killed S Africans’

Rescue workers carry a survivor into an ambulance in Lagos, Nigeria, on 13 September 2014. The discovery of more survivors enabled the search and rescue operation to continue

At least 67 South Africans were killed when a church belonging to Nigerian TV evangelist TB Joshua collapsed in Lagos last week, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has said.

It is not clear how many people died overall, as the previous death toll was put at 60.

It is the deadliest incident involving South Africans abroad “in our recent history”, Mr Zuma said.

Mr Joshu, one of Nigeria’s best-known evangelists, is popular across Africa.

Mr Joshua had said a small plane had been circling over the building before it collapsed on Friday afternoon, and suggested it was an attempt on his life.

On Tuesday, however, a rescue official said the likeliest cause of the building’s collapse was the construction of additional storeys without reinforcing the foundations.

At least 130 people, including many foreigners, were pulled out of the rubble.

Mr Joshua, who is also known as the Prophet, regularly preaches to large crowds at a mega-church in Lagos’s Ikotun district.

His followers in Nigeria and abroad believe he has the gifts of healing and prophecy.