September 13, 2014 / 10:53 AM / 3 years ago

Nigeria church building collapse kills at least 17

LAGOS (Reuters) - At least 17 people were killed when a guest house under construction at the Lagos headquarters of one of Nigeria’s best-known Christian evangelical pastors collapsed, rescue officials said on Saturday.

More than 100 people were hurt when the building collapsed on Friday at the compound in the Ikotun neighborhood belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations. The church is headed by “Prophet” T.B. Joshua, who has followers across Africa and around the world.

On Friday, members of the church initially prevented emergency services officials from participating in the rescue work, making it difficult to establish a toll for the dead and injured. They did not provide an explanation.

But on Saturday they allowed state rescuers to work on the accident site. “We are still working,” Ibrahim Farinloye, spokesman in Lagos for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told Reuters.

He earlier said the lower floors of the building located in the church compound had already been operating as a guest house. “They were trying to add an additional three floors,” he said, when the building collapsed.

Reporting by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Tom Heneghan and Susan Fenton

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