Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe on Tuesday fixed 8 July for judgment on the inquest into the collapse of a building within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nation, SCOAN on 12 September, 2014 which left at least 116 dead.
Komolafe fixed the date after parties in the inquest made their final submissions Tuesday.
The inquest was set up by the Lagos State Government to ascertain the cause of the building collapse, identify the victims and how they died.
Senior Pastor of the church, T. B. Joshua, had initially linked the tragedy to a strange aircraft hovering above the building shortly before it came crashing down.
A video was released by the church on social media platforms showing the plane allegedly hovering over the building before it collapsed.
During the eight months sitting of the inquest, several witnesses adduced reasons why the 6-storey building which served as a guest house for foreign worshippers collapsed.
T.B. Joshua personally refused to appear before the inquest, insisting that he was not under any obligation to testify before the coroner. Although an appeal he filed before a Lagos High Court was overruled, he still did not appear before the inquest.
Making his final address, counsel to SCOAN, Olalekan Ojo insisted that external forces were responsible for the collapse of the building.
Referring to the testimony of a 37-year-old graduate of Chemistry from the University of Maiduguri, Mr. Biedomo Iguniewe, who had suggested that the building may have collapsed due to infrasonic radiation, Ojo said Biedomo’s evidence was never contradicted.
Relying on the evidence of other witnesses, Ojo further argue that the non existence of a building plan for the collapsed building as alluded to by the Lagos State Government has nothing to do with the structure of the building which he insisted was built according to standard.
Ojo also argued that the contract for the collapsed building was proper contracted to competent engineers and if anyone must be questioned for the building collapse, it should be the engineers and not the Synagogue church.
In his conclusion, Ojo advised the Lagos State Government to take appropriate steps to regularise building construction and approval applications shown to be pending with the relevant state agencies.
In its submission, the Building Collapse Prevention Guide, BCPG noted that the guide was unable to establish any foundational failures in the collapsed building. The guide however insisted that the collapse may have been caused by structural failure.
In its submission, the Lagos State Government insisted that the inquest must be guided by section 40 of the coroners law which bestows on it the role to find out who the deceased are, when and how they died.
The government noted that since the issue of who the deceased are and when they died had been resolved by the pathological report prepared by the state chief medical director, Prof John Obafunwa, the inquest must only concern itself with how they died.
The state noted that in finding how the deceased died, it postulated four issues which the inquest should resolve in its favour. They include: lack of access to the collapsed building site, illegality in the construction of the building, alleged sabotage and structural defect.
The state wants the inquest to resolve the issues in the interest of justice using the body of evidence and testimonies of witnesses and experts which were unchallenged.
Before adjourning the matter for judgment, Komolafe thanked everyone who had made meaningful imput in helping the inquest to arrive at a just judgment.
He subsequently adjourned the matter till 8 July.
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