Nigeria collapse: 33 S.Africans to return home

Lulu Mnguni says teams have also been dispatched to TB Joshua's church to discuss the return of all citizens.

Spokesman of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) southwest region, Ibrahim Farinloye, speaks about the casuality figure at the scene of the collapsed church guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in the Ikotun neighborhood in Lagos on 17 September, 2014.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's High Commissioner to Nigeria Lulu Mnguni says teams have been dispatched to the church of controversial pastor TB Joshua to discuss the return of all South Africans still in the country in the wake of the deadly Lagos collapse.

Some families have been staying in the city searching for their loved ones due to a lack of information from the Nigerian government.

Mnguni said 33 South Africans, including victims who have recovered from their injuries, will fly home tonight along with their families and religious group coordinators.

The building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on 12 September, killing 115 people including 84 South Africans.

The collapse occurred when three extra storeys were being added to the existing two of a guest house of the church compound, where visitors from abroad flock to stay.

Twenty five people were flown back home on Monday morning and touched down at the Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria.

One South African survivor turned down the opportunity to return home, instead choosing to stay in Nigeria and return to the church.

Mnguni said a number of people who were trapped under the rubble have since returned to the church for religious reasons.

"We suggest to people it's better for them to go home."

At the same time, the South African team in Nigeria is now trying to identify the bodies of the 84 deceased before the repatriation process can start.

Two pathologists have joined their Nigerian counterparts to assist with DNA tests before the repatriation process can start.


Special arrangements have been made for the survivors who arrived on Monday.

They will all undergo medical observation at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.

In addition to patients undergoing observation, they will also undergo a number of tests before being moved or discharged.

It's understood that while the patients statuses are unknown, doctors must still assess them before they're discharged or transferred to a hospital of their choice.

Joshua and his supporters say the collapse was an "attack" somehow linked to a mysterious aircraft they say flew over the building before it fell down.

Analysts say Nigeria's church leaders are so influential that few politicians dare upset them, especially just before a national election, which Nigeria is due to hold in five months.

He did not mention the efforts of Nigerian emergency services or the church but said Nigeria was carrying out an investigation, although Jonathan has not announced any probe.


The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has v owed to block Joshua from entering the country and has asked government not to issue him with a visa until he explains what happened during the building collapse disaster in Lagos.

Joshua has indicated he wants to visit the country to meet with families of the victims.

But the ANCYL's Rebone Tau said they will make sure he stays in Nigeria.

"He cannot come here without people knowing what actually caused the collapse of the building. We need concrete answers. We need for a report from the Nigerian government and we are also hoping that the South African government will work closely with them on this matter as well, to get to what happened for the building to collapse."

Joshua has been blamed for responding too slowly to the disaster and not giving information on the victims.