SA team helps Nigeria church rescue

Officials inspecting the site of the building collapse, Lagos, Nigeria 16 September 2014Officials suspect the foundations were not suitable for extra floors to be added to the building

A South African rescue team has flown to Nigeria to help locate missing South Africans believed to have been inside a church hostel when it collapsed last week in Lagos.

The team will be able to sign death certificates and check that survivors are getting adequate treatment.

Of the 70 confirmed deaths, at least 67 were from South Africa.

They had gone to Nigeria to attend a gathering organised by famous Nigerian TV evangelist TB Joshua.

Mr Joshua, referred to by his followers as a “prophet” is the founder of the Synagogue, Church of Nations church ministry, which is popular across Africa and parts of the world.

More than 130 people survived, including one South African woman who was pulled from the rubble on Monday – three days after the building collapsed.

South Africa’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has said 20 South Africans are currently being treated in Nigerian hospitals after the collapse.

The multi-story building which collapsed served as a guesthouse on Mr Joshua’s campus.


TB Joshua

TB Joshua attending to a follower

  • 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

Profile: Nigerian preacher TB Joshua

In pictures: TB Joshua’s ministry in 2005


It was housing visitors from elsewhere in Nigeria and other countries.

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.

TB Joshua videos pictured in 2005Mr Joshua’s preaching is popular and his sermons are sold around the world

However, rescue officials say the likeliest cause of the building’s collapse was the construction of additional storeys without reinforcing the foundations.

Rescue workers says members of the church at first prevented emergency workers from participating in the rescue.

It is believed that at least five South African church tour groups were visiting the church at the time of the collapse.