The Vote for Service Initiative, a good governance and human rights advocacy group, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Governor Babatunde Fashola to arrest and prosecute Temitope Joshua, popularly known as T.B Joshua, the founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations.
In a letter dated September 25 and addressed to the Lagos State governor, the group also asked the state government to make public the outcome of its investigation into the cause of the collapsed building.
The group also accused the state government of delaying investigations into the collapsed building based on “the mantra of ‘Touch not my Anointed.’”
“We are Vote for Service Initiative. We like to remind your good office that, it was in this state your attorney general and commissioner for justice prosecuted and convicted Rev. King to death by hanging for (killing) one of his devotees with ignited fire.
“It is also the same attorney general office that prosecuted recently Mr. Arowolo to death by hanging for killing his wife with knife and cudgel, how much more the man that (killed) over 115 souls through criminal negligence and brazen impunity,” the group said.
The letter’s four-point demand also called on Mr. Fashola to issue a public apology to the people of Lagos State for the late implementation of Section 74 of the Physical Planning Law of Lagos State, as well as compensate the victims affected by the incident.
“Failure to which we will be left with no other option than to approach the competent court of jurisdiction for an order of mandamus for your good office to implement the law you signed in 2010 without delay,” the letter added.
A five-storey building inside the church’s premises in Ikotun, Lagos, collapsed on September 12 as three additional floors were being added to the original two-storey structure.
Eight-six dead bodies were recovered from the rubble and 131 rescued, according to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
On Monday, Jeff Radebe, a South African minister, said that 115 people, including 84 South Africans, died in the incident.
Both the Lagos State government and the Nigerian Institute of Building have stated that the church did not get an approval before embarking on fresh construction on the collapsed building.
However, earlier this week, the Lagos State government announced it had suspended investigation into the cause of the building collapse.
Lateef Ibirogba, the state Commissioner for Information, said the outcome of their investigation would be withheld pending the outcome of another committee set up by the federal government.
In their letter, the group described the situation as “laughable,” adding that the Lagos State Law on Regional and Physical Planning and Urban Development 2010 as amended had already spelt out government action after a building collapse.
The section, according to Mr. Ilori, stated that “any collapsed building in the state due to the negligence of owner or developer, such land shall be confiscated by that state through the ministry in charge.”
“In view of the above quoted relevant portion of the law, an attendant fact that the said collapsed building was due to the criminal negligence of the owner/church in charge as represented by the leader Prophet T.B Joshua or his representatives…
“Having clarified from all other relevant agents of the ministry of physical planning like LASBCA, surveyor institutes and others that no record related to approval or otherwise of the collapsed building, it is incumbent on your good office or/and your approved ministry to have implemented the relevant section of the law as stated above,” the letter said.