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Synagogue Church: Defective Foundation Not Responsible for Collapse – Witness  

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A geo-technical engineer, Mr Joseph Folayan, on Wednesday debunked the claim that a defective foundation was responsible for the collapse of a guest house within the Synagogue Church of All Nations,(SCOAN).

Folayan, the principal partner of Progress Engineering Company, said this  while testifying before the coroner’s inquest investigating the cause of the collapse of the six-storey building on Sept. 12,2014.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inquest was set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the building collapse which killed 116 people, mainly South Africans.

It would be recalled that the Lagos State Material Testing Agency had claimed in its structural integrity test on the building that it collapsed as a result of a defective foundation.

However, Folayan who was led in evidence by SCOAN’s counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, faulted the report, noting that the 2.2 metres by 2.2 metres used for the foundation base was adequate for the structure.

“As a practising geo-technical engineer with over 45 years of  experience, it is my view that the soil under those foundation did not fail.

“The pad used in the construction did not constitute a failure,” the witness said.

He said that, although he was not a structural engineer, there was the need to investigate the failure of all the columns above the foundation.

Folayan, therefore, urged the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) to carry out further investigation on the incident.

“It is a wake-up call for us in the engineering profession. We need to know why the building collapsed,” the witness said.

Earlier, the court admitted as exhibits, some documents tendered by Mr Olutoye Ayinde, the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development.

The documents included the approval plan for the main auditorium of the church as well as a general survey of the entire complex.

However, the SCOAN counsel, Ojo, who objected to the admission of the documents, argued that they were not relevant to the inquest because it was not the main auditorium that collapsed.

He argued that the church had never said it had a building approval for the collapsed building.

Ojo added that it was in evidence that the approval was being processed when the unfortunate incident occurred.

However, the coroner, Mr Oyetade Komolafe, held that the documents should be admitted as Exhibits 035 to 040.

The matter was adjourned till April 8 for further hearing.

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