The High Commissioner of Nigeria has said that popular Nigerian preacher TB Joshua will have to answer for the collapse of an apartment building in his church complex.
The preacher is currently under investigation regarding the collapse of a six-storey buiding in the compound owned by his congregation, the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Authorities have said that TB Joshua has refused to appear for questioning even after he was summoned three times by the coroner's office.
However, High Commissioner of Nigeria Martins Cobham said that Joshua will have to give his account in court, Nehanda Radio reported.
"He will be brought to book. He will give his state to before a court I can assure you of that," he told reporters during the repatriation in Tuesday last week of the last group of South African victims who died the incident.
The victims were in Lagos, Nigeria, to witness one of TB Joshua's popular healing services and were billeted in the six-storey guesthouse when it collapsed on them on September 12 last year. Joshua had initially claimed that a low-flying airplane had caused the building to collapse, and released CCTV footage to support that claim. Later, he suggested Islamic extremists were to blame and had reportedly threatened his life.
The BBC reported that investigators from Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency said that structural failure could be the cause behind the collapse of the building. Agency spokesperson, Ibrahim Farinloye, two floors may have been added on top of the four existing stories of the building without taking measures to reinforce the foundation. This could have compromised the structual integrity of the edifice and weakened the foundation, leading to the collapse.
The agency claimed members of Joshua's church hampered the rescue efforts immediate after the collapse. "For the first three days of the incident, the church people were very hostile and prevented rescue officials' access to the site," Farinloye told correspondents of the AFP in an interview.