LAGOS, July 17 (Reuters) – Nigerian authorities said they would sue a megachurch run by one of Africa’s best known preachers, TB Joshua, for negligence after its guesthouse collapsed last year, killing 115 worshippers, most of them South Africans.
The Sept. 12 disaster opened up a diplomatic rift with South Africa which accused Nigeria of not doing enough to rescue the injured and dragging its feet on launching an investigation.
More than 10 months on, the Lagos state government said the contractor that built the guesthouse would be prosecuted for professional negligence.
“The state government will also prosecute the Synagogue Church of All Nations for neglecting to obtain building approval before commencing the building,” spokesman Habib Aruna added in the statement on Thursday.
Coroner Oyetade Komolafe last week blamed poor construction and weak foundations for the collapse in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.
The church dismissed the coroner’s ruling in a statement on its Facebook page, saying the verdict was unreasonable and the disaster had been caused by sabotage.
It could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Joshua, described as a prophet and a “mentor to presidents” on the church’s website, draws tens of thousands of worshippers from across Africa with his evangelical Christian ministry.
The church says thousands have been healed of everything from Aids and cancer to gunshot wounds at its services, which can last up to a week. (Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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