Synagogue: TB Joshua snubs coroner again

By The Citizen
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The founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet T.B. Joshua and the contractor that built the failed structure were absent yesterday for a scheduled appearance before the coroner probing the September 12 Synagogue building collapse at the church premises.

Also scheduled for appearance before the coroner, Magistrate O.A. Komolafe, were the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Lagos State Ministry of Works.

While the SON and Ministry of Works were represented, both Joshua and the contractor were however absent and no reason was given for their non-appearance.

The Thursday sitting of the coroner probing the September 12 Synagogue building collapse was hampered by faulty electronic recorder, leading to further adjournment till Friday (today).

Prior to the adjournment, Mr. Bede Obayi, who is the Head, Inspectorate and Compliant Department of the SON and an expert in Metallurgical and Material Engineering, had submitted to the coroner results of three separate tests carried out on samples of the materials used in building the collapsed building.

Introducing the test results, Obayi told the coroner that immediately his team received the news of the building collapse, they visited the site and collected relevant samples, including iron rods and the broken bricks.

According to Obayi, SON's investigations traced the iron rods used as the reinforcement timbers of the failed building to four different companies.

Obayi explained that after collecting the samples, SON submitted them to three different laboratories, in order to ensure the accuracy of the results.

He said one sample was submitted to a neutral steel rolling company, which was not one of the four implicated companies; another set of samples were also sent to the four companies implicated and a third sample was submitted for analysis at the SON laboratory.

The witness added that the source of the samples was not disclosed to the laboratories in order to prevent undue influence on the outcome of the tests.

Though the verdict contained in the submitted test results had not been revealed before the court's electronic recorder became faulty, Obayi had, however, submitted that the input of the owner of the building and the contractor who built it would be needed to draw useful inference from the submitted test results.

'We have got three results but they are not enough to draw a definite conclusion; it is only the contractor and the owner of the building that will be able to give us the history of the construction and that is why we felt their own input are very germane,' Obayi said.