A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed Nov. 2 to rule on a suit filed by an engineer to the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Akinbela Fatiregun, seeking enforcement of his rights.
Justice Ibrahim Buba reserved the ruling after hearing arguments from both counsel in the suit.
A guest house within the prescints of Synagogue Church at Ikotun, a Lagos suburb, had collapsed on Sept. 12, 2014, killing more than 100 people including South Africans.
Following the collapse, the Lagos State Government instituted a coroner’s inquest to ascertain the cause of the deaths.
The inquest, presided over by Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe in its verdict, indicted Synagogue Church for criminal negligence and recommended that the church should be prosecuted.
The coroner also indicted the structural engineers, who supervised the construction, Mr. Akinbela Fatiregun, and Mr. Oladele Ogundeji, and recommended that they should be investigated and tried for criminal negligence.
Fatiregun had filed the suit, challenging the verdict of the coroner.
Respondents in the suit are the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Council of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), the State Attorney General and Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, the Coroner.
Fatiregun is seeking an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the Commissioner of Police from arresting, detaining, investigating or prosecuting him.
He also wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Attorney General or any officer under his authority from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings against him based on the verdict of the coroner.
When the case was mentioned yesterday, counsel to the applicant, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, argued that the coroner’s verdict was a nullity.
Ojo argued that there was no basis for the police to arrest or investigate the applicant.
“The basis of the applicant’s case is that he was not charged with any offence before the coroner; he merely appeared as a witness and the coroner went on to indict him of criminal negligence.
“The applicant is saying that his indictment by the coroner’s court is a nullity and so, the 1st to 3rd defendants cannot arrest, detain or charge him to court.’’
Counsel to COREN, Mr. Abumere Osara, argued that the reliefs sought by the applicant were not provided for under Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution.
Osara said that the engineer was subject to probe by COREN as a registered engineer practicing in the country.
After listening to arguments from both counsel, Justice Buba, adjourned the case till Nov. 2 for ruling .