Trustees of the Synagogue Church of all Nation, SCOAN, alongside the two engineers with their companies were today arraigned before a High Court sitting in Lagos over the September 12, 2014 building collapse that killed 116 persons in the Ikotun area of Lagos.
Their arraignment came after the judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, dismissed the application filed by two of the defendants seeking to quash the charge.
The Lagos State Government had filed 111 charges against the defendants bordering on criminal negligence, manslaughter and failure to obtain building permit, on which they had deployed several tactics to stall their arraignment by filing several applications.
After Justice Akapo initial ruling, lead counsels representing the defendants made several attempt to convince the court not to proceed with the arraignment. Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, representing SCOAN, argued that since the business of the court today was for ruling, it would be improper to proceed with arraignment.
Chief Akpofurew, SAN, representing Hardrock Construction Company, said he just lost his mother and would not be able to proceed. Justice Akapo however overruled them and ordered that the charges be read to the accused persons and that the men be kept behind bars till when the charges would be determined.
The six-storey Synagogue building which was housing foreigners collapsed on September 12, 2014, killing 116 people, who were mostly South Africans. After investigations, the church and the engineers in charge of the building were found guilty of “criminal negligence” which led to the loss of several lives, and it was recommended that the church and its engineers be prosecuted for manslaughter.
Two South African minors, Bulungu Malaika Wa Kalambaie (3) and Nora Furah Wa Kalambaie (6), had in February filed a law suit against the founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet Temitope Joshua, over the death of their father in the building collapse.
The children who filed the suit through their mother, Amina Busseh Bashi, a citizen of Democratic Republic of Congo, and their counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), demanded that Prophet Joshua pay them the sum of R8,772,000 as cost and damages for the death of their father.
They also asked the court to order Prophet Joshua, and the registered Trustees of SCOAN, to pay the sum of R10,000,000 as damages for lost earnings suffered by them from the deceased person’s company due to the negligent acts of the church and Pastor Joshua.