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Collapsed building: Coroner declares Synagogue Church guilty
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Collapsed building: Coroner declares Synagogue Church guilty

The Lagos State coroner, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe has indicted the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) calling for its investigation and prosecution over its failure to secure the necessary permit and approval before commencing the building of its collapsed structure.

The coroner also recommended that the contractors, Oladele Ogundele and Akinbela Fatiregun, who were in charge of the construction be investigated and prosecuted for criminal negligence.

Komolafe further asked relevant authorities to carry out detailed “fitness for habitation test” on all the structures/building within the premises of the church.

In its verdict over the circumstances leading to the collapse of the building, the Coroner held that the building collapsed due to structural failure caused by the combination of designs, detailing errors and foundation failure.

He also concluded that the death of the 116 victims of the collapsed building was consistent with blunt force trauma that would normally be sustained from a collapsed building.

According to the coroner, the victims comprised 60 males, and 56 females among whom was a boy aged, six years and that six bodies were yet to be identified.

He also stated that 85 of the victims were of South African origin, while others were 22 Nigerians, two Benenois and one Togolese.

The Lagos State government had set up the inquest under the state Coroner’s System Law No.7 of 2007 to investigate the cause and circumstances resulting in the death of 116 people, mostly foreigners.

But in spite of repeated summons issued on him by the coroner, the founder of the church, Prophet Temitope Joshua, refused to appear before the inquest. He was the only witness summoned that failed to appear, according to the Coroner.

Joshua instead of appearing to testify before the inquest had gone before the Lagos State High Court to challenge the jurisdiction of the coroner’s court to conduct the investigation and to summon him. He had also urged the court to declare that the coroner had exceeded the jurisdiction of a coroner’s court by delving into areas that were beyond its scope.

Although his application was dismissed by Justice Lateefa Okunnu for lack of merit, Joshua had further ran to the Court of Appeal to overturn the high court’s decision.

The Coroner also stated that there was no basis to blame a strange aircraft for the collapse from the fact available to the court. It will be recalled that the guest house at the premises of the Synagogue Church has collapsed in September 2014 and the incident almost caused a diplomatic spat between Nigeria and South Africa

 

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