By Paul Dada
Facts have emerged as to why the Founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua, disagrees with the verdict of a Lagos Coroner, which indicted the Registered Trustees of the church, two engineers and their companies over the collapsed building that killed 116 people in September last year.
The Lagos Coroner, Oyetade Komolafe, who is a magistrate, held the trustees of the church and others liable for the collapsed guest house within the church premises in which the said number of people, mostly South Africans, died. T. B Joshua is one of the registered trustees of the church.
The Registered Trustees led by Joshua think that the coroner erred in law for handing them a criminal indictment. This much is revealed in their motion filed before Justice Kazeem Alogba of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, in which they seek an order of certiorari quashing the verdict of the Coroners’ court.
Joshua and others are in the suit, contending that the “Coroner’s Court of Lagos State, Alimosho District,” which delivered the verdict is unknown to Coroner’s Court of Lagos State 2007 and Coroner’s System Law (Subsidiary Legislation),which established Coroner’s Court in Lagos State.
They argue that the Lagos Coroner’s System Law 2007 only established Lagos, Ikeja, Yaba and Apapa districts and that Alimosho Coroner’s district, which presided over the Synagogue building collapse inquest was not a creation of the law.
They hold that any finding, recommendation and or verdict delivered or rendered by an illegal court such as “Coroner’s Court, Alimosho District” is a nullity and liable to be quashed.
They also want the Lagos High Court to quash the verdict of the coroner’s court on the ground that the inquest acted in excess of its jurisdiction by holding that structural failure due to the combination of design and detailing errors caused the collapse of the Synagogue’s six-story building.
They say the recommendations made by the Coroner’s court ordering the prosecution of the church and building engineers was outside the powers of the coroners as it is only empowered to inquire into the cause of death, time of death, manner of death and identities of the persons that died.
The trustees also want the court to make an order setting aside the charges instituted by the Lagos State Government against Registered Trustees of SCOAN.
The matter is expected to come up in February 4, 2016.