LAGOS - At least three people were killed when a Lagos guest house being built by one of Nigeria's biggest Christian churches collapsed, and the final toll was likely to be higher, rescue officials said on Saturday.
The building collapsed on Friday at a compound belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations headed by one of Nigeria's best-known evangelical pastors, "Prophet" T.B. Joshua, who draws tens of thousands of followers from all over West Africa.
"We recovered three bodies .... there are more we fear were trapped," Ibrahim Farinloye, spokesman in Lagos for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told Reuters.
Members of the church prevented emergency services officials from participating in the rescue work, so it had been impossible so far to establish an accurate final number of the dead and injured, he added.
"They attacked us, we had to withdraw," Farinloye said, adding the church in Lagos's Ikotun neighbourhood had not provided a list of casualties.
He said he did not know what had motivated this attitude from the church members. There was no immediate comment on the incident from the Synagogue Church of All Nations.
Farinloye said the lower floors of the building located in the church compound had already been operating as a guest house."They were trying to add an additional three floors," he said.