General News of Monday, 9 March 2015
Source: Nii Oto Blafo
The sitting of the coroner of inquest set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the cause of the September 12 Synagogue Church of All Nation’s building collapse, is gradually revealing how some public officials took advantage of the accident to put the founder of the organisation into public ridicule, opprobrium and unnecessary vilification.
It is now coming out clearly that neither was the State Governor and his team deterred from any rescue mission at the heat of the accident nor was the subsequent soil-test report as tendered by the State Engineer, the true reflection of the scientific analysis by the experts who researched the site.
In what seems to be an orchestrated bid by some public servants to put the blame for the accident on the good prophet, Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua, the Lagos State Governor had come to the headquarters of the organization firing on all cylinders at the founder during the heat of the accident.
The Lagos State Governor, Hon. Fashola, had gone as far as inferring that the founder and his lieutenants deterred the Lagos State emergency team from saving lives. Rather, it has adequately been proven that instead of marshalling or superintending any rescue team, the Governor and his men found it convenient to be in the public eye by granting interviews to the media personnel who had arrived at the accident scene.
It would be recalled also that a consultant to the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory, Engineer Ariyori Saheed had on Wednesday 4th of March told the coroner that The Synagogue, Church of All Nations building collapsed due to defects in the foundation. This was in spite of the fact that the foundation columns are still standing very firm and erect even as of this moment.
While undergoing cross-examination by counsel to The SCOAN, Olalekan Ojo, the structural engineer could not give any cogent reasons for the discrepancies in the documents which he tendered to the coroner as sub-soil investigation report.
Admitting that there are discrepancies in the documents he submitted to the coroner at the hearing, the engineer also confessed that he did not participate in the laboratory investigation that produced the report. According to him, he only authored the report based on what he had read. He also admitted that he prepared his report overnight due to the urgency of the matter.
Stating that the discrepancies have compromised the integrity of the engineer’s earlier submission, counsel to The SCOAN, Olalekan Ojo told Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe that he suspected an ulterior motive on the part of the state counsel and witness and thereby called for fairness to be applied in the entire process.
Even the counsel to the Lagos State government, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran agreed to the existence of inconsistencies and urged the coroner to grant them enough time to study the documents properly before addressing the issues raised.
Counsel to the SCOAN argued that it was unfair for the structural engineer to make a categorical statement on the collapse of the building with conflicting documents which he relied upon to arrive at his conclusions. The SCOAN counsel therefore challenged the veracity of Engineer Ariyori’s claim that the building collapsed due to defects in the foundation.
Earlier, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) had claimed that SCOAN did not allow them to save lives during rescue operation.
But CCTV footage presented to the coroner’s court by the organization’s Chief Security Officer showed that NEMA and LASEMA were not hindered by SCOAN from doing their statutory assignment; instead, they came to the accident site ill-equipped and immediately went about conducting interviews while victims remained trapped under the rubbles.
Meanwhile, nauseated by the deliberate mud-slinging of the Man of God by the public officials, a host of Nollywood stars have expressed their solidarity with Prophet T.B Joshua who they said has been like a father to them and a role model worth celebrating.
At last weekend sitting, hundreds of Nollywood celebrities invaded the court premises from as early as 8am. Some of these popular actors included Wale Adebayo, widely known as Sango, Bayo Bankole called Boy Alinco, Ronke Oshodi-Oke, Elesho and Shitta-Bay amongst others.
Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe adjourned proceedings to Thursday, March 12, 2015.