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Nigerian church offers condolences to families

18 September 2014, 13:16

Johannesburg - The Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) on Thursday sent condolences to the families of those killed when its guesthouse collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria.

- Are you there or do you have friends or family who were affected? Send us your stories .

"To all those who lost family members and loved ones, please accept our heartfelt commiserations. No one knows by the present sign or situation what the future holds," it said in a statement on its website.

"We must therefore live each day as if it were our last and leave tomorrow’s trouble for the one who bore our troubles on the cross. We thank God for the martyrs and we pray for the family members and loved ones left behind."

Death toll rises

Scoan's multi-storey guesthouse collapsed last Friday, killing scores of people, including 67 South Africans. On Thursday, news reports quoted the National Emergency Management Agency in Nigeria as saying the death toll had risen to 80 in total and that 131 survivors had been pulled from the rubble.

The South Africans were part of tour groups lodging at the church of faith healer "prophet" TB Joshua.

In its statement, Scoan said it was a sad time for all and quoted from the Bible: "Emmanuel - God is with us".

Verse 1.23 in the chapter of Matthew reads: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" [which means God is with us].

Scoan said it felt the pain of the affected families.

"The pain of one is the pain of all. It is indeed a sad and painful moment for the families and friends who have lost loved ones," it said.

"It is equally so for us in Scoan, under the leadership of prophet TB Joshua."

Joshua is known to thousands of people around the world as a "prophet of God" who believe he can cure anything from disabilities to cancer and HIV/Aids.

The televangelist claims to have predicted the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane crash and the Boston marathon bombings. He apparently did not foresee the collapse of his own church building.

'Strange aircraft'

In its statement, Scoan said one of its buildings "unexpectedly" collapsed, resulting in death and injury. It implied that a "strange aircraft" had something to do with the disaster.

"This incident was preceded by the appearance of a strange aircraft which flew very low over the building, four times and then disappeared," it said.

"The church views this tragedy as part of an attack on Scoan and in particular prophet TB Joshua. In due course God will reveal the perpetrators of this unfortunate tragedy."

The church said it had co-operated with authorities from Nigeria, South Africa and other nations and was working "hand-in-hand" with them.

"Scoan... have worked in collaboration with... authorities to ensure that survivors are rescued, attended to with the best medical treatment, cared for in the most humane and hospitable manner and reunited with their families, while those who passed on - martyrs of the Kingdom of God - are retrieved, identified and treated respectfully."

'Inaccurate reports'

Scoan was saddened by "inaccurate reports" that it was not co-operating with rescue teams.

The church said it had provided help and continued to do so. It would work with authorities to establish the cause of the collapse.

Scoan thanked all those who had helped, and thanked supporters worldwide for their prayers and support.

"We wish to express our gratitude to all who continue to work tirelessly, show their solidarity and share their condolences in this grievous time."



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