The Synagogue Church building which collapsed in September killing more than 115 people was caused by “weaponized infra sound”, a coroner court heard Monday.
Biedomo Igunuwei, a chemist, who said he has conducted independent research into the incident, said that the “plane-like object” that flew over the church on September 12 fired an “infrasonic weapon” – a low sound radiation used as a weapon to cause structural damage and destruction to objects – that caused the building to crumble.
“Having analysed the video evidence and interviewing the survivors of the collapsed building and observing the site of the collapsed, I came to the conclusion that the building collapsed as a result of infrasonic weapon probably fired from a flying object or a stationary location on the ground,” said Mr. Igunuwei, who described himself as an expert in weapons and explosives research.
“This infrasonic weapon employs its vibrational characteristics to induce a high intensity destructive resonance in the building leading to a near perfect vertical crumbling collapse.”
Several reasons had been adduced to have caused the collapse of the six storey building which was undergoing construction before the incident.
While Temitope Joshua (popularly known as T.B Joshua), the founder of The Synagogue Church, blamed the “mysterious aircraft” and “terrorists” for the building’s collapse, the Lagos State government said the church flouted its building regulations by putting additional three floors on the building without approval.
On Monday, and for the umpteenth time, the CCTV footage of the incident was played in court, with Mr. Igunuwei pointing out that “infrasonic pulse” was responsible for the uniform destruction of the building.
The witness also said that the “flying object” (he insisted it could not be conclusively called an aircraft) flew over the building repeatedly to ensure it fired the required dose of the infrasonic weapon to bring down the building.
“An infrasonic weapon can be fired or deployed from any flying object, or from a location close within a distance of between 100 metres and 1,000 metres away from the intended target,” said Mr. Igunuwei.
During cross examination, Mr. Igunuwei, 37, said that he only possessed a first degree – a Bachelor’s certificate in Chemistry from the University of Maiduguri – but added that he worked for six years at the Defence Industries Corporation in Kaduna.
He also said that he is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Explosives and Materials Science at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Zaria.
Mr. Igunuwei said he had never seen an infrasonic weapon, had never used it, had no military training on its use, and had arrived at his conclusion by watching the video evidence and visiting the site of the incident.
He said he interviewed only two of the survivors.
While testifying before the coroner last October, Toyin Ayinde, the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, said that the minimum distance the aircraft would be from the building was about 137 metres – the equivalent to one and half-length of a standard football field.
But Mr. Igunuwei said that distance “cannot be correct”, adding that it was impossible for police bomb experts to pick up residues of an infrasonic weapon-induced building collapse.
The witness also said that he developed a personal interest in the incident due to his background and research experience in explosives and military weapons, and that The Synagogue Church instructed him to carry out a scientific analysis of the material it gathered, a job he was not paid to do.
“There was no gas installation inside the building which could have caused the explosion.”
In a related development, Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja adjourned till January 12th the suit brought by Mr. Joshua challenging his summons to appear before the coroner.
Mr. Joshua is arguing that his invitation to appear as a witness before the coroner is a breach of his right to fair hearing as no case had been established against him before the coroner.
Ms. Okunnu said that she was adjourning to give time for the respondents (the Lagos State government) to respond to a further affidavit filed by Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to Mr. Joshua.