Founder Synagogue Church Of All Nations, T.B. Joshua has asked a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja to end the coroner’s inquest into the September 12 building collapse that killed about 116 persons.
Reports suggests that in the application marked ID/188MJR/2014, the prophet also asked the court to declare that the invitation on him to appear as a witness before the coroner was a breach of his right to fair hearing, as no case had been established against his person before the coroner.
According to Joshua’s lawyer, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, Justice Lateefat Okunnu had slated December 3, 2014 to hear the application.
Pursuant to this development, Joshua through Ojo, therefore asked the coroner, Magistrate O.A. Komolafe, to suspend further proceedings pending when Justice Okunnu would either uphold or reject his prayers.
Daily Independent reports that, Ojo announced the application saying, “My Lord, most respectfully, we have applied for a judicial review of the proceedings of this honourable court so far. We may be right, we may be wrong, but what we are saying is that this coroner court has been extending and it is still extending its inquisitions into areas outside the statutory jurisdiction of the coroner court. That is our complaint, my Lord.
“And what we are saying is, if the High Court agrees with us to set aside such portions of the proceedings that it adjudges to have been conducted in excess of jurisdiction, it should prohibit the coroner from further acting in excess of its jurisdiction.
“The strict scope of the coroner’s inquest is ascertaining the cause and the manner of death and it would be in the best interest of all of us if the High Court agrees with us.
“My Lord, we are also saying that thus court should suspend further proceedings, pending the time when my Lord, honourable Justice Lateefat Okunnu will give her ruling. My Lord has fixed the matter for December 3 and with utmost respect to my Lord, she is an eminent judge that could even deliver the ruling on that day.
“My Lord, our prayer is that my Lord should accord the High Court respect and the dignity, so that your Lordship will not been seen to have taken or to intend to take any further action that might amount to prejudising or preempting the High Court.”
But in response, the coroner said he had not been served with any court process, adding that he was not obliged to suspend his sittings till the High Court’s decision came.
Komolafe, who warned that nobody should create the impression that the coroner’s court was a trial court, went on to caution Joshua against pitching himself against the law.
The magistrate, clearly furious at Joshua’s repeated absence in court, said he was only restraining himself, in the spirit of fairness, to issue a bench warrant against him.