Synagogue collapse: Building didn’t collapse due to structural failure — contractor ‎

Synagogue Building collapse
Synagogue Building collapse

The ‎expert witness and contractor for the collapsed six-storey building belonging to the Synagogue Church Of All Nations, Akingbola Fatiregun, has said the collapse of the building was not due to structural failure.

Mr. Fatiregun appeared before the coroner inquest into the collapsed building on Thursday.

During his cross examination, he said, “Structural failure in building collapse has a peculiar way, but this one beats the imagination.”

The chief executive officer of Hardrock Engineering linked the collapsed building to controlled demolition, stating that he could not link the collapse to sabotage as claimed by the Nigeria police.

“The building came down symmetrically and everything came down as if it was guided. It was like you plan to bring a building down. It was like those methods were applied, it did not come down like structural failure. I’m limited to sabotage because the building was well constructed and every other thing was ok.”

When asked about the quality of materials used, he maintained that the materials were up to standard and tests were carried out on the reinforcements.

He added that the strength of the reinforcements steel used in the construction was 419 Newton per millimetre square.

“We ensure to know where they (materials) are coming from. We carry some test in the laboratory, sometimes we do physical test, our sands are from the river, the stones are from quarry and the cement is from Dangote,” he said.

He disclosed that construction work on the now collapsed structure was in phases with phase 1 beginning in 2008 and built till the 4th floor in July 2010 while the second phase began in 2013.

Mr. Fatiregun, who himself is a worshipper at the church, ‎said he officially visited the site while under construction at least three times a month while he paid unaccountable unofficial visits anytime he was at the church for service.

No building approval

While being cross examined, the contractor revealed that the collapsed guest house had no building approval from the Lagos State Ministry of Environment but stated that his client, SCOAN, was in the process of getting the approval.

“The building has some level of approval and it was still in progress when the building collapsed. It is the duty of the client to get approval,” he said.

He however maintained that he told the church of the need to get the approval.

The inquest was initiated by the Lagos state government into the cause of the collapsed building which killed about 116 persons. The building collapsed September 12, 2014.

The coroner, Magistrate Komolafe, adjourned the inquest till Friday, February 27.

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