TB Joshua’s Guest House Collapses

By on September 13, 2014

A six-storey building serving as a lodge for spiritual tourists at the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, collapsed midday yesterday killing about 15 people including a 12-year-old.

When LEADERSHIP weekend visited the scene of the incident yesterday, many corpses had been recovered from the debris of the collapsed building.

Rescuers working with nine ambulances, two cranes and three fire tanks made frantic efforts to rescue trapped victims.

Critically injured ones were taken to the general hospitals at Isolo and Igando.

An eyewitness who spoke with our correspondent said the building fell at about 1:30pm. It was not known if there had been any sign of possible collapse before it eventually fell.

The eyewitness, a commercial tricycle operator who declined to give his name, said scores of injured people had been taken to the Igando hospital.

“The hotel used to be a four-storey building, but the church kept adding more floors to the structure and this may have contributed to the eventual collapse. The building is less than four years old,” he said.

Non-Nigerian nationals may have been affected as the Synagogue Church attracts spiritual tourists from neighbouring African countries such as Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo and other parts of the world. These tourists used to settle down at the Ikotun-Egbe headquarters of the church at the weekend for the Sunday service.



None of the church’s officials was available to talk to our correspondents, as security officers attached to the church cordoned off the scene and barred people from coming near.

The general manager Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed that 15 bodies had been taken out already while others were trapped. “Rescue operation is ongoing,” he said.

It was gathered that the church had embarked on an expansion drive over the last few months, which allegedly led to the collapse.

Eyewitnesses disclosed that there were more than 20 casualties and that over 10 ambulance vehicles had trooped the church premises, trying to remove dead bodies and rush injured persons to the hospital.

This tragic occurrence caused pandemonium around the church. The police tightened security around the perimeter of the church. Gunshots were fired at intervals to scare people standing in the middle of the road watching from afar.

Church claims 3 helicopters hovered over collapsed building

Meanwhile, a member of the media team of the Synagogue Church for All Nations in Ikotun, Lagos, Mr Oladapo Bankole, has alleged that three helicopters hovered over the six-storey building about 20 minutes before the building came down.

Bankole, who spoke with newsmen a few hours after the building gave way, said three helicopters were seen at about 1pm hovering above the building, which was under construction.

He added that one of the helicopters came close to the uncompleted building, noting that the building collapsed 20 minutes after the unidentified helicopters flew over the building.

According to Bankole, the building involved was standing between the two canteens of the church.

At the time of the incident, he said some construction workers were at work while some children were around the canteen.

Bankole said that since the church was not envisaging the accident, the identification of the helicopters was not done.

He however did not confirm the number of casualties in the building collapse.

He said: “For now, we don’t have the casualty figure because the Lagos State Emergency Agency has taken over the site, but as of 3pm, we were able to evacuate about 25 persons through the emergency unit. There were three children involved; fortunately the three of them are alive; no foreigner was involved.

“We are still trying to understand what the mission of the helicopters was; we weren’t expecting the accident, so we didn’t pay attention to the identity of the helicopters.”

Church couldn’t produce building approval – LASG

On whether the church management sought approval before constructing the building from the Lagos State Building and Control Agency (LASBCA), Mrs Abimbola Animashaun said the government could not confirm or trace any document stating approval to commence construction work in the premises.

Animashaun, who led her team to the scene of the incident, said none of the church members could provide evidence of approval for the collapsed building.

She said, “We have been here challenging them on the building approval but they haven’t said anything convincing. They claimed to have approval but we could not confirm it. They were told to bring the building approval authorised by the government; none of them could do that.”

Amid the confusion created by the collapse, the church members were seen attacking officials of National Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and Lagos State Building Control Agency, among others.

NEMA and its state version LASEMA, the Lagos State Building Control Agency, and other rescue agencies were attacked while on their rescue mission.

Our correspondent gathered that the managing director of LASBCA, Mrs Animashaun, was not spared from the church’s assault.

According to the information officer of NEMA, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, “We are pulling out from the rescue operation. The church members attacked us and other emergency teams.”

He added: “First, we were not allowed to go into the premises. And after we were able to gain access, they attacked us and halted the rescue operation.”

Later, however, all groups, agencies and others who came for the rescue operation were seen collaborating on the rescue efforts.

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