Posted by News Express | 24 September 2014 | 3,457 times
The Lagos State Government has suspended its independent investigation into the cause of the collapse of a guesthouse in the premises of Synagogue Church of All Nations, which killed 86 people on September 12.
State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba, confirmed this on yesterday, as he disclosed that all findings on the disaster would be withheld pending the outcome of another probe panel set up by the Federal Government.
The state government had on Monday called a world press conference on the disaster, which was later rescheduled for yesterday.
Ibirogba, yesterday, announced that the briefing had been cancelled based on “experts’ advice”. He said the advice was taken since the Federal Government’s committee was already investigating the disaster.
“We have some issues coming up. We would not want to do anything that will embarrass anyone, ourselves or compromise ongoing investigation being carried out by others. This is why we are putting this off; please bear with us,” he said.
On the rationale of Federal Government setting up another probe panel after the one constituted by the state government had concluded findings, Ibirogba said the fresh probe was in order since nationals of other countries were involved in the disaster.
The commissioner said: “We don’t want to pre-empt the committee or sentence anyone before comprehensive report. Agencies of government are working, with representatives of the state government. Together, they will make their findings known as soon as they are through.”
It would be recalled that the South African government had called on the Nigerian Government to quicken investigation into the building collapse, as majority of those who died in the incident were South Africans.
Meanwhile, the youth wing of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) yesterday warned Synagogue Founder/General Overseer, Prophet T.B. Joshua, not to visit South Africa in the nearest future.
The ANC members were reacting to Joshua’s announcement of his proposed visit to the country to empathise with the families of the 84 persons who lost their lives in the church’s headquarters in Lagos more than a week ago.
A six-storey guest house belonging to the church collapsed on September 12, claiming at least 115 lives and leaving others missing.
The warning came as the Botswana Government yesterday said following the collapse of a church building, its High Commission in Nigeria with the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the leadership of the church had managed to locate 10 Botswana citizens who were in the vicinity of the collapsed building at the time of the incident.
Stressing that Joshua would not be welcomed, the youth wing of the party further warned the South African government not to issue a visa to him if he applies for such.
The group, which made this disclosure in a statement by its spokesman, Bandile Masuku, said they would make sure such trip never come to pass.
He said: “TB Joshua should not be allowed to come to South Africa until we know what happened to our fellow countrymen at his church.
“We will make sure we engage with the department of international relations and co-operation to make sure they do not issue him a South African visa.”
Although 25 injured persons were flown back to South Africa for treatment and rehabilitation at the Steve Biko Academic hospital in Pretoria, three of them have been adjudged permanently disabled.
Social Development Deputy Minister, Hendrieta Bogopane Zulu, who made this disclosure said the government would also provide counselling to the affected families to enable them cope with the trauma.
•Pieced together from reports in Nigerian Tribune and THISDAY. Photo shows TB Joshua.
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