A former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has blamed Nigerian intelligence agencies for the collapse of a six-storey building inside the premises of The Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Lagos in 2014.
In an article he titled ‘Murder in the Church (Part 1),’ Mr. Fani-Kayode described the “blowing up of the building by our intelligence agencies” as Nigeria’s version of the 911 terrorist attack in the US.
“The whole thing appears to have been covered up and those in high places in the intelligence agencies at the time, having discovered that this was yet another rogue operation by a group of fifth columnists within the security apparatus who were keen on silencing the Presidents friends and who wanted to use the operation to embarrass and terrify their perceived enemies and adversaries, decided to brush the whole thing under the carpet and keep it quiet,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said.
At least 115 people, mostly foreigners, died after an under-construction building collapsed while additional floors were being added to it.
A coroner’s inquest instituted by the Lagos State government following the incidentindicted the church, accusing it of “criminal negligence” by failing to obtain the requisite permit before adding additional floors to the collapsed building.
The coroner recommended that the church be prosecuted.
The Lagos State government said it would not prosecute the church for criminal negligence, but commenced prosecution of the engineers involved in the collapsed building.
But the church, which is owned by popular televangelist Temitope Joshua (popularly known as TB Joshua) had immediately rejected the coroner’s report, saying it was “one-sided.”
The church had maintained throughout the inquest that the building collapse was caused by sabotage, with one of their witnesses saying that the “plane-like object” that flew over the building minutes before it collapsed fired an “infrasonic weapon” – a low sound radiation used to cause structural damage and destruction to objects.
In his piece, Mr. Fani-Kayode largely pushed the sound weapon attack narrative, insisting that the motive was to silence and discredit Mr. Joshua who, according to him, was exposing the deepest secrets of those working against then president, Goodluck Jonathan.
“The attack involved the use of certain members of our intelligence agencies who used a large remote-controlled drone to fly over the building and who then activated an explosive device which had been planted in the building days earlier with the drone.
“There is a video on YouTube of the drone hovering at very close range over the building three times just before it collapsed. I urge readers to look for it and view it.
“After the third time, the entire building collapsed like a pack of cards. This was after a loud explosion, which was clearly heard by many of the survivors within and outside of the building, shattered the tranquillity, peace and silence of the structure and blew out its foundations.”
Mr. Fani-Kayode said the claims that the building collapsed due to the weight of the additional floors being added to it was implausible and lacks credibility.
“As trusting as ever, the Nigerian people bought this hideous mendacity lock, stock and barrel whilst many prominent clerics and Church leaders who were envious of Joshua’s rising profile, power and popularity revelled in the lie and helped to preach, spread, perpetuate and consolidate it,” he said.
“They argued that the building was built without the relevant permits and conveniently overlooked the fact that, according to my sources at Alausa, Lagos state, between 60 and 70 percent of buildings in the environs and suburbs of Lagos state either never had a building permit in the first place, procured one only after the relevant building was constructed or have fake ones which were procured through bribes.
“That being the case it seems strange that far many more buildings have not collapsed in Lagos if the assumption is that they all have weak foundations.”
The ex-minister said the security agents ought to have called in forensic-based and professional investigators but, instead, began looking for a scapegoat in the person of Mr. Joshua.
“They ignored all the evidence that suggested that there was far more to the matter than that and instead sold this unlikely and utterly absurd narrative and dummy to the Nigerian people and the international community,” he said.
“They then proceeded to initiate criminal proceedings against Joshua and some of his Church members and sought to discredit, disgrace, shame and utterly destroy him.
“With this they had managed to divert attention away from the real cause of the collapse of the building, they had found an easy and convenient scapegoat and consequently the real perpetrators managed to escape any form of suspicion or scrutiny.”