Building Collapse: Synagogue Church and contractors indicted for criminal negligence

The coroner’s inquest, which investigated the circumstances that led to the collapse of a six-storey guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), yesterday indicted the church founded by Mr. Temitope Balogun Joshua for the collapse.

The 10-month long inquest, presided over by Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, in its verdict, also indicted the structural engineers – Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun of Hardrock Construction – who supervised the construction of the building, and recommended that they should be investigated and tried for criminal negligence.

The coroner further recommended that the church should be investigated and tried for not obtaining the necessary permit before constructing the collapsed building, which resulted in the death of 116 people including several South African nationals.

The Lagos State Government had inaugurated the coroner’s 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 following the building collapse on September 12, 2014.

Komolafe also recommended that CSP Haruna Alaba, the Divisional Police Officer, Ikotun Police Station, should forthwith be transferred from the said station because he failed to take note of what was happening in his area and had to rely on information from the police headquarters.
“The Synagogue Church of All Nations should be investigated and prosecuted under the law by the relevant authority for not possessing the necessary building permits.

“The relevant authority should carry out a detailed ‘fitness for habitation test’ on all the structures/buildings within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations situated at Segun Irefin St., Ikotun, Lagos State,” the coroner stated.
The inquest, which commenced sitting on October 13, 2014 and also visited the scene on October 16, took evidence from 32 witnesses including the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Ministry of Works, the surveyor-general of the state, SCOAN building contractors, Standard Organisation of Nigeria and Lagos State Ministry of Tourism.

Also called to testify were the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Nigerian Red Cross, Lagos State Fire Service and Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA).

Credit: Akinwale Akintunde/ThisDay