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Collapsed Synagogue building had insufficient foundation – Witness

By The Citizen
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A civil engineer, Dr. Olusegun Oyenuga, told a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Friday that the six-story building of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations which collapsed on September 12, 2014, did not have sufficient foundation.

Oyenuga, a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, also said it is possible that the construction of the collapsed building was not supervised by any structural engineer as none came forward to defend the project during investigation.

Oyenuga appeared on Friday as the first prosecution witness before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo where the Registered Trustees of the SCOAN are being tried for erecting a building without obtaining the approval of the Lagos State government.

The two engineers who built the collapsed building, Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, are also being tried alongside their companies, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited, on 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter over the death of the 116 persons that perished in the collapsed building.

The defendants had upon their arraignment on April 19, 2016 pleaded not guilty to the 111 counts pressed against them by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

The DPP opened its case on Friday by fielding Oyenuga as its first witness.

Led in evidence by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Idowu Alakija, Oyenuga, who is a registered member of the Council of Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, told the court that the foundation upon which the collapsed building was erected was insufficient.

He said, 'Our findings revealed that the super structure was undersized in terms of the reinforcement of the beams and columns.

'The foundation was also not adequate but it may not have been the cause of the collapse.

'On the bearing capacity of the soil, the maximum bearing capacity should be 800, and what should be ideally used for construction is 330 but the church used 550.

'This may have been responsible for the collapse.'
Oyenuga claimed that the documents supplied  by the church to the COREN committee that investigated the collapse were not of help to the committee.

He added that no structural engineer came forward to say that they participated in the construction of the failed building.

Justice Lawal-Akapo adjourned till June 20, 21 and 22  for continuation of trial. - Punch.