A 33-year-old South African woman trapped for 5 days in the rubble of a collapsed Synagogue Church building has narrated her ordeal.
The tragedy occurred September 12, when the building belonging to pastor T.B. Joshua's Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) fell down, leaving scores of people dead and many injured and trapped.
One of those caught under the debris was Lindiwe Ndwandwe. Several ghastly days she had to spend waiting for the rescue, she could only hear the screams of those beneath the rubble slowly fade.
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Speaking with AFP Saturday, September 20, the woman finally found courage to share her story and provide the details like the one that she had no other choice but drink urine to survive.
Trapped inside a toilet next to the dining hall of the crashed building, the survivor could breathe only through a tiny hole in the wreckage for several days.
After all, Lindiwe still cannot believe she stayed alive.
"It’s like a dream to me that really, it’s me that came out from here. I don’t believe it. The tears that I cry, it’s because I don’t believe."
The discussions about building collapse have been surrounded by numerous controversies.
One of the versions of the tragedy is the fact that the building was reconstructed, with 3 storeys added, without approval of Lagos government.
The church insists however on the other version, that they were attacked and provides the video showing an aircraft hovering above the building before the collapse.
Many South Africans are believed to have been visiting the church on the fateful day. The church founder, famous Nigerian cleric T.B. Joshua, on Sunday pledged to travel to South Africa to meet with the survivors.
However the country's opposition party insists on legal action against the church where many of their nationals died.
Democratic Alliance shadow foreign minister Stevens Mokgalapa explained that the reason for persecution was that the staff at the church had allegedly impeded their work in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
"The DA believes that there is now enough evidence for the South African government to, at the very least, explore the possibility of a class action suit against the (church) on behalf of the affected families. It stands to reason that the church and its members may be criminally liable for the death of a number of South Africans who could have been rescued from the rubble if rescue work was speedily permitted."
While the official cause of the incident is under investigation and is yet to be provided, it was learnt from the official site of the church that it has history of collapses. The SCOAN used to have 3 different locations and all the and there were serious troubles with the church building. The extract from the site reads:
"The roof of the first church was blown off by a storm, the second church was washed away by a flood while the third church also collapsed due to severe weather conditions. "