Legal Nigeria

Coroner: Lagos to prosecute Synagogue, contractor

Almost a year after a guest house being built by  Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, collapsed in Ikotun area of the state, killing scores of worshippers and workers, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, said his administration will enforce the verdict of the Coroner’s inquest in consonance with the rule of law to prosecute  the church and the contractor handling the construction.
The building  collapsed on September 12, last year amid controversy thereby generating public interest internationally.
The governor in a statement  by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, said his government will uphold the sanctity of the law in the state, just as he urged residents to also respect the rule of law.
“His Excellency hereby reiterates his Government’s commitment to uphold and enforce the sanctity of the law in the state and calls on all Lagos resident to respect the rule of law”, the statement said.
To this end, he said the Coroner’s verdict of 7th  July 2015 made a number of recommendations which the state government will act upon accordingly.
The governor said that one of the provisions of the Coroner Law 2007 is that empowers a Coroner to commence an inquest to find out the cause and manner of death which occur in an unusual manner.
He said that consequent upon the collapse at the premises of Synagogue Church building, the state government applied that a coroner’s inquest be commenced into the cause of the tragic deaths.
The Governor said the state government “Will cause the prosecution of the contractor, Engineer Akinbela Fatiregun of Hardrock Engineering Company Limited and Structural Engineer, Oladele Ogundeji, who constructed and supervised the collapsed building respectively at the Synagogue Church of All Nations for professional negligence”.
The governor said his   government will also prosecute SCOAN for neglecting to obtain building approval before commencing the building, contrary to the provisions of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010.
The governor therefore appealed to residents of the state to always allow emergency responders perform their duties of emergency as they are trained for this purpose.
“He enjoins land owners within the state who intend to embark on construction to employ the services of qualified and competent engineers who must obtain building permit before construction”, the statement said