Synagogue collapse probe stalled over T.B. Joshua’s refusal to appear

The coroner’s inquest into the cause of the collapsed building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, was stalled Wednesday after the church’s founder filed an application seeking to stop him from appearing at the hearing.

Over 115 people, mostly foreigners, died in the September 12th incident.

Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe adjourned till December 5 to enable him rule on the application.

T.B Joshua, founder of the SCOAN, had filed an application before the coroner seeking for stay of further proceedings of the inquest pending the determination of the suit before a high court.

Mr. Joshua, through his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, had also filed a similar application before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja praying for an order stopping the coroner from summoning him to give evidence.

“The coroner who relied on his personal knowledge of the facts of the case is not a proper person to preside at the inquest,” said Mr. Ojo.

At the inquest’s last proceedings, the coroner had told Mr. Joshua to emulate the South African ambassador who testified despite his immunity.

On Wednesday, Mr. Komolafe said that the applications challenging the inquest are stalling the enquiry.

“It’s like you don’t want your prophet to come to court,” he told Mr. Ojo.

“The order you are seeking in that motion…. We have to take this application before we move on, it will be an impediment.”

But Mr. Ojo said that he needed time to effect service to other parties involved in the inquest.

“The position we are in now is, technically, one that the motion cannot be said to be ripe for hearing, having not been served to parties,” said Mr. Ojo.

“It is a motion that is pending but not ripe for hearing.”

Mr. Komolafe said that the inquest cannot continue until the application is heard.

“I have to adjourn to hear the application and give a ruling.”


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