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Nigeria President promises synagogue collapse investigation

The number of unaccounted for and presumably dead South Africans remains at 84.

FILE: Rescue efforts underway in Lagos, Nigeria where at least 67 South Africans have been killed after the collapse of a building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Picture: AFP

NIGERIA - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has visited the site of the collapsed synagogue building in Lagos and has promised to launch his own investigation into the cause of the collapse.

The number of unaccounted for and presumably dead South Africans remains at 84.

At the time of the collapse more than a week ago, 349 people were visiting the Synagogue Church of all Nations run by Pastor TB Joshua.

The President also promised to collaborate with state governors to implement measures to prevent the illegal construction of high rise buildings in the country.

While expressing condolences to the families of the victims, the president assured that the Federal Government will deploy all resources necessary to ensure that investigations into the cause of the collapse are treated speedily.

"NO ACCIDENT"

For supporters of "Prophet" TB Joshua, one of Africa's best-known Christian preachers, the death of at least 80 of his congregation was no construction accident.

"The church views this tragedy as part of an attack on The Synagogue Church of All Nations," said a statement on his official Facebook page on Thursday.

"In due course, God will reveal the perpetrators."

Joshua said he was cooperating with the investigation.

Initially his members had refused entry to rescue workers, according to Nigeria's emergency services, who noted that the 12 September collapse occurred during building work, in which extra floors were being added.

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola was quoted in the media as saying the church had no permit for the extension.

Joshua's public relations team said the church was adding three floors, but when asked if it had a permit they said Joshua's existing public statements were all he was willing to say for now.

There are nearly monthly collapses of buildings in Lagos, all blamed on shoddy construction.