Africa

Nigeria preacher Joshua links guesthouse collapse to plane

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos on Saturday, 13 September. Image copyright AP
Image caption The building was being extended to accommodate more visitors

TB Joshua, one of Nigeria's best known preachers, has linked a small plane circling over a church guesthouse in Lagos to its subsequent collapse.

At least 40 people died when the two-storey guesthouse for members of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on Friday.

There is no official comment. Local officials have said additional floors were being added to the structure.

Mr Joshua - also known as the Prophet - regularly preaches to vast crowds.

The popular televangelist says a small plane had circled over the building four times before it collapsed on Friday afternoon and it may have been an attempt to kill him.

"It was yesterday, Friday, as I was praying; they came to call me that there was an airplane hovering over the church. They said it is like it wanted to land," his statement said.

He said about 30 minutes later, it came over the building several times.

"About five minutes after, the building came down."

He gave journalists a CCTV video clip of the alleged plane, urging them "to use their discretion to write on what they saw".

Rescue officials say 130 people were pulled out of the rubble - some are being treated in local hospitals. Many foreigners are believed to have been there at the time.

Mr Joshua's services, at a mega-church in Lagos's Ikotun district, are known for attracting thousands of people.

Followers in Nigeria and abroad believe he has the gifts of healing and prophecy.

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