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Coroner indicts Synagogue

The Coroner’s Court investigating the collapse of a building within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), has that the church breached all rules and regulations guiding building construction
The Coroner, Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, said structural failure “due to the combination of designs and detailing errors” caused the building to collapse, saying the church did not obtain building permits or approval in respect of the building.
Magistrate Komolafe said the insinuation that a roving aircraft, which hovered over the building shortly before its collapse, was responsible for the building collapse was out of it, saying foundation failure was the remote cause of the collapsed building.
Consequently, he recommended that the “Synagogue Church of All Nations be investigated and prosecuted by the relevant authority for not possessing necessary building permits.”
The coroner court also recommended that detailed ‘fitness for habitation test’ should be carried out on all the structures and buildings within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, situated at Segun Irefin Street, Ikotun, Lagos State by the relevant authority.
Aside the indictment of the church, Chief Magis­trate Komolafe also recom­mended that the two struc­tural engineers that oversaw the construction of the col­lapsed building, Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akin­bela Fatiregun of Hardrock Construction Company Limited should be tried for criminal negligence by the relevant authority.
The Coroner Court also ordered that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ikotun Police Station, CSP Haruna Alaba, should be transferred forthwith from the Ikotun Police Station, saying that the DPO failed to take note of what was happening in his area and had to rely on information from the Police Headquarters.
The Coroner Court, which commenced sitting in October 2014, invited 32 witnesses to testify before it while it received 45 exhib­its.
All the witnesses ap­peared before the court to testify and give details of events that led to the col­lapse of the building but the founder of the church, Temitope Joshua, refused to honour the invitation of the coroner.
Rather, he dragged the Chief Magistrate Komolafe and the Coroner Court be­fore Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court on the grounds that the court lacked the jurisdiction to summon him.
Justice Okunnu threw out the suit on the grounds that sections 26 and 27 of the Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State 2007 empowers the coroner to summon any witness to assist him in his fact-finding mission, point­ing out that there was noth­ing unusual in the summons extended to Joshua.
The embattled Prophet later took the matter to the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal where the matter is still pending.

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