80 Dead in Nigeria Building Collapse

By SUNDAY ALAMBA | September 19, 2014

The death toll in a building collapse at a televangelist’s church complex in Nigeria has risen to 80, an official said Thursday.

Ibrahim Farinloye of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency announced the toll as search operations continued at T.B. Joshua’s Synagogue, Church of All Nations, on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

South Africa has said 67 South African citizens died in the Sept. 12 collapse of a guesthouse at the church complex. Officials have not clarified whether the South African fatalities were among the larger group of 80 dead cited by the Nigerian government.

“Search and rescue missions are still continuing after which we will know for sure how many citizens we have lost,” South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, said at a meeting of local government officials in the Johannesburg area.

Nigerian government officials have said shoddy construction was a possible cause of the disaster. But Joshua, whose followers across Africa and beyond believe he has powers of prophecy, has suggested Islamic extremists were responsible.

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