The following story was originally published by The City Reporters under the headline “Synagogue church collapse: death toll climbs to 44.”
No less than 44 people have now been confirmed killed in the aftermath of the collapse of a five-storey guest house of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a church founded by Nigerian prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua.
The death toll rose to the current number on Sunday after 25 bodies, in addition to an initial 19, were recovered by rescue workers from the wreckage.
Fortunately, the number of survivors also rose to 139 as six women were also rescued alive from the rubble.
“As at now, 4.30pm, a total of 139 persons have been rescued alive while 44 are dead. 80 per cent of the rescued are women,” the South West’s Spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye said, Sunday.
In a seeming bid to control the flow of information, SCOAN security officials had “forcefully” driven emergency responders away after the building collapsed on Friday – a decision the church later rescinded, reports say.
During his visit to the scene of the incident on Sunday, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, urged the General Overseer of the church, Prophet Temitope Joshua his members to allow emergency workers do their work.
Some experts have now tried to link the building collapse with the mysterious disappearance of an Alpha Jet (NAF 466) belonging to the Nigerian Air Force about the same time the Synagogue church tragedy occurred.
The jet, which was involved in the counter insurgency operation against the extremist Boko Haram sect, went missing around Adamawa State at about 11:00 a.m. on Friday; while the SCOAN guest house collapsed around 12:45 p.m.
The City Reporters could not independently verify the plausibility of the linkage.
“I was the target” – T. B. Joshua
Meanwhile, Prophet T. B. Joshua has told his congregation he was the target of the tragedy with some members of his church claiming the resultant loss of life was a sign of an impending divine promotion for the church founder.
The celebrity prophet also released a video to the media in which a claims a strange aircraft, which appeared to hover low around the building before it went down in just a second, was responsible for the collapse.
“First, I received a call that there was a jet hovering around the mountain (the church) which I just left at very close range,” Joshua told his congregation on Sunday.
“Later, I was informed that the plane in question was flying dangerously low over a particular building within the church premises.”
“We have a stable terrain in this area. I have been in this community for the past 30 years and no building has ever collapsed here.
“I know you will ask me why Synagogue? Don’t forget the spiritual blessing that God has bestowed on us? A big head wears a large hat. They are trying to scare you from coming to this church. Don’t be scared, you are not the target, I am the target. I know my hour has not yet come. I have not yet finished my job.
“There is no compromise in what we do at all. I am going to leave this for you to judge. I want to assure you that our God will get back at them – the agents of Satan.”
Located in the Ikotun area of Lagos State, The Synagogue Church is a popular worship centre in Nigeria which attracts thousands miracles-seekers from around the world.
Founder, Prophet T. B. Joshua, is well known for prophesying dreadful events as well as predicting the outcomes of football matches.