Coroner's inquest sets June 2 for submission of written addresses by lawyers

Presiding Chief Magistrate, Oyetade Komolafe, also foreclosed the possibility of taking further evidence in the matter

Rubble of the collapsed building at Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Lagos on Saturday

The Coroner inquest probing cause of the collapsed guest house belonging to Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) owned by Temitope Balogun Joshua, yesterday set aside June 2, 2015, for submission and adoption of written addresses by lawyers in the matter.

Presiding Chief Magistrate, Oyetade Komolafe, also foreclosed the possibility of taking further evidence in the matter.

According to reports, the court arrived at the date after entertaining the last witness from the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, Engr Victor Oyenuga.

It would be recalled that the Lagos State government set up the coroner’s inquest under the state’s Coroner System Law Number 7 of 2007 to investigate the cause and circumstances that left about 166 people dead following the building collapse of September 12, 2014, and bring its findings and recommendations to the appropriate authorities.

The inquest, which began proceedings on October 13, 2014, had called many witnesses, including Lagos State Building Control Agency, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Ministry of Works, Surveyor- General of the state, the SCOAN building contractors, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, and Lagos State Ministry of Tourism.

Others include National Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Nigerian Red Cross Society, Lagos State Fire Service and Lagos State Transport Management Authority.

Other witnesses include Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, among others.

Also called to testify was General Overseer and founder of SCOAN, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, who eventually did not show up.

The SCOAN founder challenged the jurisdiction of the coroner’s court, when he filed an application dated November 11, 2014, designated ID/188MJR/2014, before Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court, seeking a judicial review of the coroner’s inquest into the September 12, 2014, collapse.

Joshua had equally prayed the court to issue a declaration that the coroner had exceeded the jurisdiction of a coroner’s court by delving into areas that were beyond its scope.

Though Justice Okunnu threw out the application, Joshua lodged an appeal at the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal.

At the last preceding, an explosives expert and researcher, Mr. Biedomo Paul Iguniwei, in compliance with directive of the presiding magistrate, tendered a research paper as an addendum to his earlier deposition before the court.

According to the research paper, Iguniwei said the collapsed guest house was caused by an infrasonic weapon fired at the church by an aircraft that hovered over the building.

The researcher, who argued as baseless the position of Lagos State government, which tends to support structural defect as cause of the collapsed building, maintained that scientific evidence coupled with CCTV footage of the collapsed building, suggest that the building collapsed due to high energy infrasound absorption.

Iguniwei supported the infrasonic weapon theory thus: “This is even more accurate based on the fact that all other options being put forward were eliminated scientifically, creating what appears to be a mystery (due to limited knowledge) surrounding the collapse of the building.

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