Titus Eleweke with agency report
A Lagos State Coroner’s Court yesterday fixed July 8 for the delivery of judgment in its inquest into the collapsed six-storey building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations on September 12, 2014. The Coroner, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, fixed the date after all parties had adopted their written addresses and made final submissions. Komolafe thanked all those who made contributions to help the inquest to arrive at a judgment.
In his final address, counsel to the church’s building contractors, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, insisted that the September 12 incident was caused by some external factors. Ojo, who relied on the testimony of an explosives and weapons expert, Mr. Biedomo Iguniwei, said the building might have collapsed due to what he called infrasonic radiation. He argued that lack of a building plan for the collapsed building as claimed by the Lagos State government had nothing to do with its structural integrity.
Ojo said due process was followed in the award of the contract and competent engineers were engaged for the construction. According to him, if anyone must be questioned for the collapsed building, it should be the engineers and not the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Ojo, however, advised the state government to take appropriate steps to regularise building construction and approval applications still pending with relevant state agencies. In its submission, the state government, through its counsel, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran, insisted that the inquest should be guided by Section 40 of the Coroner’s Law.
According to him, it bestows on it the role to find out who the deceased were, when and how they died. Adeniran said the issue of ‘who are the deceased’ and when they died had been resolved by the pathological report of the state pathologist, Professor John Obafunwa. He said the inquest should only concern itself with how they died, adding that in arriving at its conclusion, the inquest should resolve four issues in favour of the state.
The issues, he said, included lack of access to the collapsed building site, illegality in the construction of the building, alleged sabotage and structural defect. “The issues should be resolved in the interest of justice, using the body of evidence and testimonies of witnesses and experts which were unchallenged,” he said. The inquest was instituted under the Lagos State Coroner’s System Law No. 7 of 2007 for the purpose of establishing the causes and manner of the collapsed building incident.