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Synagogue Church Building Had No Cracks, Deflection On The Beam Before Collapse – WITNESS

By Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos 

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of the High Court of Lagos State sitting in Igbosere, Nigeria was on Thursday (today) informed that the collapsed guest house owned by the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, was in perfect condition with no cracks nor any deflection on the beam before the incident occurred.

This revelation was made known to the judge by the seventh defence witness, Architect Dayo Fabiyi, in the ongoing trial of the Registered Trustees of the Synagogue Church of All Nations.

The witness spoke while being led in evidence by Olalekan Ojo (SAN), lawyer to the fourth defendant.

It would be recalled that the Lagos State government had dragged SCOAN before the judge over the building collapse which occurred on September 12, 2014.

Specifically, the defendants in the legal action are two Engineers, Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun.

They were charged alongside their  companies - Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Ltd.

The duo are answering questions to a 110-count charge of involuntary manslaughter while the Registered Trustees of SCOAN were charged with one-count charge of building without approval.

The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions, DPP, particularly pointed accusing fingers on the defendants of violating Section 75 of the Urban and Regional Planning Law of Lagos State, 2010 as well as Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The defendants were arraigned on April 19, 2016 but they pleaded not guilty to the charge as made against them by the state government.

During proceedings on the case today, Fabiyi explained that he worked as a volunteer in the maintenance department of the SCOAN from February 2014 till date.

According to him, “I went round the facilities to check if there are any sort of cracks or deflections on the beams and I did such routine inspection on the collapsed building last on Sept.14, 2014.

"There was no sign of deflections or any stress on the collapsed building before it collapsed."

But while being cross-examined by lawyer to the state government, Jide Martins, the witness confirmed that he was not involved in the investigation of the beams of the collapsed building, just as he insisted that cracks and deflections were always visible to the eyes.

Fabiyi equally admitted that he did not use any mechanical devices to check for deflections during his maintenance works.

Meanwhile, on reexamination, the witness hinted Justice Lawal-Akapo that it is not only civil engineers that could detect cracks in a building.

“Mechanical devices are only used to investigate deflections after the building had collapsed not before.

"A defective building must have shown signs that the building is under stress, the collapsed building did not show any sign of stress before it collapsed," Fabiyi added.

The case has been adjourned until June 28, 2019.

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