The African National Congress Youth League has called on the Jacob Zuma-led South African government not to issue a visa to the General Overseer of the Synagogue of All Nations, Pastor Temitope Joshua.
Joshua had expressed on Sunday his desire to visit South Africa to commiserate with the families of 84 citizens of the country who lost their lives when a building of the church collapsed in Lagos on September 12.
About 115 people died in the tragedy and Joshua had described those who lost their lives as martyrs to the consternation of South Africans.
But reacting to Joshua’s desire to visit South Africa, the spokesperson for the ANC Youth League, Bandile Masuku, 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 Cooperation to make sure they do not issue him with a South African visa.”
A South African Newspaper, City Press, which reported this on Tuesday, had reported that about 115 people, including 84 South Africans, were killed and dozens trapped when the multi-storey guesthouse attached to the church collapsed.
About 350 South Africans were said to be visiting the church in the Ikotun neighbourhood of Lagos, at the time.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, has called on the Lagos State Government to apply the full weight of the criminal law against anyone found culpable for the collapse of the Synagogue building collapse.
The institute called for a thorough investigation into the incident, adding that the probe should not be limited to the owner of the collapsed building, but also to the approving agencies.
The National President, NITP, Chief Steve Onu, who said this at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja, noted that the enforcement of relevant laws and appropriate sanctions against errant builders would serve as deterrent to those that love cutting corners when building.
He said building collapse was not the fault of planners but that of developers who cut corners, noting that many government buildings did not also meet standard town planning requirements.
He said that states were fond of not employing professional town planners while local government councils retained and promoted ill-trained urban development workers, adding that it was only the Federal Capital Territory that had a building tribunal in the country.
Onu said, “If what has happened is considered a criminal act, criminal law should be pursued to its conclusion; there is a penalty for negligence, so they should carry out proper investigation even up to the approving agencies. Somebody is supposed to ensure that that building does not continue. So the government investigation should not be limited to Synagogue.
“As much as possible, the searchlight should be extended to the approving agencies. Did they give approval? The people who built, did they build according to approval? If they did not give approval, then it is an illegal structure. So, whatever penalty the law says in respect of illegal structure, should be followed.”
The NITP President predicted that the coastal areas of Lagos would experience massive flooding in the future on account of the land reclamation carried out by the developers of the Atlantic City project.
This, he said, was because research had shown that the ice glaciers were melting, noting that this had resulted in the rising of the ocean with concomitant flooding of coastal areas globally.
“The Atlantic city project will pose flooding challenges for settlements along the coastal area, it will lead to massive flooding in the future. These people (project handlers) are insensitive to the possible problems the reclamation would cause through ocean surge. They would just wake up one day and find that everywhere is flooded,” Onu stated.
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