24th October, 2014
The Senior Pastor and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nation, SCOAN, Prophet TB Joshua will on 5 November testify before the coroner inquest set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the 12 September collapse of a building within his church premises.
One hundred and fifteen people, mostly of South African nationality lost their lives when the building which serves as a guest house of the church collapsed.
Joshua had initially linked the tragedy to a strange aircraft wandering above the building shortly before it fell. A video was released by the church on social media platforms showed the plane allegedly hovering around the building before its collapse.
To ascertain the actual cause of the collapse, the Lagos State Government on 26 September, set up an inquest to investigate the incident.
The coroner, Magistrate O.A Komolafe and a team of interested parties had last week visited the scene of the incident to have a first hand understanding of the incident.
At today’s sitting of the inquest, the coroner stated that TB Joshua must appear before the inquest to give a first hand testimony about what happened during the building collapse.
Komolafe gave the order after two witnesses from the Lagos State Fire Service and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Adebayo Musiliu Olayinka and Bamidele Wasiu testified respectively before the inquest.
Insisting that TB Joshua must personally appear before the inquest, Komolafe said: “The court has summoned him, let him come and tell us what he knows. He cannot sit over there and be sending words to us that he cannot come. The court has said that for the purpose of what we are doing that he should come over”.
Agencies represented at the inquest today were, Nigeria Aviation Management Authority, NAMA, Red Cross, the Nigeria Police, Standard Organization of Nigeria, SON, Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA.
Also present at the inquest was the South Africa High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni, Consul General, Ambassador Mokqethi Monaisa and a Nigeria relative of one of the building collapse victims, Ifeanyichukwu Osondu.
The Coroner during the court proceding, expressed his sympathy to the South African High Commissioner and assured him that cause of the collapse will be unravelled.
Addressing journalists after the court proceeding, Louis Mnguni said he is confident with the process been adopted to ascertain the cause of the building collapse and that there is no diplomatic rift between Nigeria and South Africa over the incident.
An official of the Lagos State Fire Service, Adebayo Musiliu, while testifying before the court said he observation that the building did not collapse as a result of explosion.
Musiliu, who said he has 34 years experience in rescue operation, insisted that there was nothing to suggest that the accident occurred as a result of explosion.
He said, “All the bodies recovered were whole and not dis-membered or burnt. Also there were no scattered bricks. The floors and pillars were also not shattered, rather the building had collapsed on top of each other.
“The collapsed building did not collapse did not depict any sign of explosion or implosion.”
Musiliu, however, told the court, under cross examination, that he was not an expert in building construction.
Similarly, a zonal LASTMA official, Bamidele Wasiu testified that his agency was only responsible for managing the heavy traffic that occurred during the collapse incident.