Nigeria collapse: Repatriation of SA victims delayed

The repatriation of the SA victims has been delayed because of Nigeria’s laws & regulations.

The plane carrying 26 South Africans, including three children, who were injured in the Lagos building collapse more than week ago has landed at the Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria on 22 September 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

PRETORIA - Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says the repatriation process of South Africans who died in the Lagos building collapse will take longer than expected due to Nigeria's laws and regulations.

A total of 115 people died more than two weeks ago when a guesthouse, which accommodated followers of 'Prophet' TB Joshua, collapsed.

Radebe says only 18 postmortem reports have been completed.

The minister says the Nigerian government has made slow progress in conducting forensic tests on the deceased, which means families will have to wait longer before the repatriation process can take place.

"A postmortem has to be performed on all deceased persons and death certificates have to be issued before the mortal remains may be repatriated to South Africa."

He says due to the differences in laws governing the certification of health professions, the South African forensic experts who are in Nigeria may not perform postmortems on the bodies.

Government says despite this, they continue to cooperate with the Nigerian government to speed up the process.