Collapsed Synagogue SCOAN Building

Collapsed Synagogue SCOAN Building

Court Adjourns Suit Challenging Coroner’s Verdict On Synagogue

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed September 30 for the hearing of a suit filed by two structural engineers that supervised the construction of the collapsed building within the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, premises.

The plaintiffs in suits numbers FHC/L/ CS/1095/15 and FHC/L/ CS/1096/15 filed by Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, respectively, are asking the court to nullify the coroner’s verdict on the collapsed building.

Collapsed SCOAN Building

Collapsed SCOAN Building

The respondents in the suits are the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, Lagos State police commissioner, Attorney-General and Coroner, Oyetade Komolafe.

When the suit came up yesterday, Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned it following the inability of COREN, 2nd respondent, to file its counter-affidavit to the application.

The lawyer to COREN, L.O. Karim, told the court that he had just been briefed on the matter and was yet to file any process. Justice Idris faulted Karim’s request on the ground that the stipulated period of five days allowed for COREN to file its response to the suit had lapsed. He thereafter adjourned the matter till September 30 for hearing.

Lagos Coroner, Komolafe, who conducted an inquest into the deaths of 116 persons that perished in the accident, had on July 8 indicted Ogundeji and Fatiregun of criminal negligence and recommended them for criminal prosecution.

Following the coroner’s verdict, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode recently disclosed the readiness of Lagos government to implement the coroner’s verdict, including filing criminal charges against the church and two engineers.

But Ogundeji and Fatiregun, through their lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, prayed the court to restrain the police from inviting or arresting them for questioning.

He argued that the plain tiffs’ constitutional rights to dignity and personal liberty enshrined in sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution, were at stake as they could no longer move about freely.

He told the court that policemen have visited the home of Ogundeji, adding that when they did not see him they arrested and detained his brother-in-law.

Besides, Ojo informed the court that the police went to Fatiregun’s office in Ikeja on July 16 to arrest him, but he was not available.

He said Fatiregun voluntarily went to the police station where he was arrested and detained and asked to make written statement regarding the role his company, Hardrock Engineering Construction Limited, played in the collapsed SCOAN building.

Ojo said the move to arrest the engineers on July 16 followed the fundamental rights enforcement action they filed against the respondents on July 15, challenging the coroner’s verdict.

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