Wednesday’s judgment of the coroner that investigated the cause of the collapse of a six-storey guest house belonging to Prophet TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nation is unacceptable to the church
The church is insisting that the incident which killed over a hundred people, contrary to the criminal negligence conclusion of the coroner, was due to sabotage.
In a statement signed by the church’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, the church rejected the verdict.
“The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) rejects the verdict of the coroner on the grounds that it is unreasonable, one-sided and biased,”
”The church maintains its stand that the incident was as a result of sabotage.”
The Coroner had concluded that Church must be prosecuted for failing to obtain necessary building permits.
“The church must be investigated and prosecuted for not obtaining the relevant approval before embarking on the construction of the building,” said Mr. Komolafe, a magistrate.
“The church was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of victims. Structural failure due to the combination of designs and detailing errors caused the building to collapse.”
But Mr. Ojo’s statement on behalf of the church argues that “There was no finding that the church procured substandard materials for the construction of the building, as confirmed by officials of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) who gave evidence at the coroner and certified the materials used were all approved and of good quality,” the church said.
On the building permit, he said “There was no finding that connected the incident with the lack of a building permit,” the church continued.
“There was no finding that church members prevented the statutory responders from carrying out their reacue duties. The church disagrees most vehemently with the finding that the incident was due to structural failure.”
“It was a one-sided verdict which left many issues unaddressed and questions unanswered,”
“The church disagrees with the findings concerning the aircraft that hovered over the six-storey building because there was evidence before the court that the incident could have been brought about by external forces such as controlled demolition or an explosion.
“The verdict did not even refer to the CCTV footage which showed the 6-storey building falling in less than 4 seconds – a manner consistent with controlled or externally induced demolition – nor did it refer to the interim report and investigation by the Nigerian police force which pointed to sabotage by external forces.
“The church also disagrees with the finding that foundation failure was a remote cause because that is contrary to the overwhelming expert evidence of the structural engineers invited to the coroner who eliminated foundation failure as a possible cause.”
The long statement ended by questioning the integrity of the coroner inquest. “Finally, the coroner recognised that the conduct of the investigation of the incident was compromised by the failure of the appropriate government agencies to take necessary steps to secure and preserve the scene of the incident, which calls into question the integrity and reliability of the entire investigation.” Mr. Ojo ended.
Reactions have been pouring in after the judgment of the coroner was delivered. While most unconcerned persons demand immediate prosecution of those indicted, members of the church accuse the Chief Magistrate that presided over the inquest of being used by the devil.