Kazeem Ugbodaga

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right) presenting a State plaque to the Treasurer General, South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC), Dr. Zwelini Mkhize (left) during a courtesy visit to the Governor at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, July 24, 2015.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right) presenting a State plaque to the Treasurer General, South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC), Dr. Zwelini Mkhize (left) during a courtesy visit to the Governor at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, July 24, 2015.

The leadership of the Africa National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party has backed Governor Akinwunmi Ambode over his plan to prosecute the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN in compliance with the Coroner’s verdict.

Over 100 people died on 12 September, 2014 when a six-storey building collapsed at the SCOAN. The Coroner in Lagos early this month recommended the prosecution of the church owned by Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua and the contractors handling the project.

On Friday, the leadership of the ANC paid a courtesy visit to Ambode at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria and commended the state government’s stance on the Coroner Verdict.

ANC’s Treasurer General, Dr. Zwelini Mkhize expressed appreciation to the state government for its effort in ensuring that the South African nationals who were involved in the unfortunate incident were successfully repatriated to the country for burial.

“We do appreciate this relationship, we must say that we are very pleased to learn of your decision in terms of the Synagogue disaster in Lagos last year. Certainly, while we all appreciate the assistance that you made to ensure that all of the victims were repatriated back to South Africa, we would continue to support whatever work is being done on your side,” Mkhize said.

The collapsed guest house in SCOAN premises

The collapsed guest house in SCOAN premises

The ANC Treasurer said the crux of the visit was to seek ways to strengthen bi-lateral trade between South Africa and Nigeria, adding that the trade level between both countries was currently on a high, as both countries stood to benefit from each other in terms of trade and investments.

Speaking, Ambode reiterated his commitment to boosting trade relations with South Africa, describing the visit as “a brotherhood meeting”.

He listed the areas of cooperation to include the strengthening of security towards building a safer Lagos which will not only safeguard existing investments in Lagos, will also attract new businesses into the state.

“We have established Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, so that we can strengthen bi-lateral relationship. We need more investors to come into Lagos so that we can create employment and grow our GDP. Whatever it is you think we can do to increase investors from South Africa, we are ready to talk.

Prophet TB Joshua, founder, Synagogue Church Of All Nation (SCOAN)

Prophet TB Joshua, founder, Synagogue Church Of All Nation (SCOAN)

We hope you would also create the same platform for business men from Nigeria who do business in South Africa,” he said.

The Governor also promised to commit to the existing relationship between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the ANC saying both have common ideology.

“We have so much to learn from ANC and we have so much to give in terms of the dynamics we (APC) have brought to the political landscape. We believe strongly that we need to do some interparty visitation and relationship”, he said.

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos, Chief Henry Ajomale said the history of the ANC and its iconic leader, late Nelson Mandela is deep rooted, adding that the two parties can benefit from each other on all fronts.

“Let me respectfully acknowledge our leader late Nelson Mandela. He is a man very respected in Nigeria. Those days during the struggle, some of us carried placards during the struggle to free South Africa,” he said.