Pastor of the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ikotun, Lagos State, Temitope Joshua, one of Nigeria’s best known preachers, has linked a small plane circling over the church’s guesthouse to its subsequent collapse.
At least 19 people died and 119 were injured 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.
Joshua – also known as the Prophet – regularly preaches to vast crowds.
BBC reports that 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”.
AFP news agency reports cited an official putting the number of deaths at 40. Many foreigners are believed to have been there at the time.
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.