Synagogue building collapse: Nigeria, South Africa differ on death toll

South African President, Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa announced, Tuesday, that 67 of his countrymen perished in the collapsed building at The Synagogue church in Lagos.

The collapsed building inside the church’s premises was a five-storey building which initially was two-storey and the church decided to add three additional floors on it.

“I am greatly saddened to announce that 67 South Africans died and scores of others sustained injuries, after a building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on Friday, 12 September 2014, in Lagos, in the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Mr. Zuma said in a statement.

Mr. Zuma’s casualty figures, however, differed markedly from that of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Nigeria’s emergency rescue unit which had been on the scene since the day of the incident.

According to NEMA, total death toll as at Tuesday evening totalled 63 deaths and 131 people rescued with “more likely to be recovered.”

Rescue workers on Monday deployed three police sniffer dogs at the accident scene to assist in the search of trapped bodies.

It is unclear how the South Africans arrived at their casualty figures.

Mr. Zuma described the incident as a difficult time for South Africa.

“Not in the recent history of our country have we had this large number of our people die in one incident outside the country,” Mr. Zuma said.

“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues that have lost their loved ones in this heart-breaking tragedy. The whole nation shares the pain of the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who have lost their loved ones. We are all in grief.

“As we mourn this sudden and tragic death of our fellow compatriots, I have directed the relevant Government departments and entities to act with the utmost urgency to ensure that we facilitate the movement of relevant family members to Nigeria to identify the bodies of their loved ones and to ensure that we repatriate the remains as soon as possible under the circumstances,” he added. 

When contacted, Ibrahim Farinloye, NEMA’s South-West spokesperson, declined to react to Mr. Zuma’s casualty figures.

“When we finish, everybody will know the total and who belongs where,” Mr. Farinloye said.


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  • Wähala

    South Africa has a data base of all her citizens unlike unholy Naija, the Zulus simply took a roll call…
    They know who no show up for dinner, something Africans take rather seriously! South African gullible were at the Temple alright, in pilgrim groups for whatever scam TB had coined to attract flies to banana skin. Zulus perished in high number ooh biko, even Joyce Bande has been tamed… not only Zulu King, Zuma! TB Joshua sent his thugs to beat-up and chase away NEMA rescue workers and hid info from Ibrahim, dia Oga@theTop, so dem dey in the dark as far as casualty figures are concerned… I believe Zuma! So, so far: 67+63 = 130 with 130

  • BlackieUmukoro

    South Africa through her Nigerian embassy, so they know what they are talking about. All their citizens make contact with their embassy before heading for the synagogue. Those who went, none is back yet

  • tiiye

    It is mutual internal destruction of the Greek-Roman-Anglo/Mason Caucasian empire