19 January 2016

Nigeria: Synagogue Building Collapse Trial Adjourned Again

A criminal negligence trial against Pastor TB Joshua over a fatal building collapse at his Lagos megachurch was adjourned on Tuesday because of a fresh challenge to the case.

Lagos high court Judge Lawal Lateef-Akapo said the case would resume on Wednesday as Joshua and trustees of his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) had applied to halt the prosecution.

Two contractors who previously tried to obtain an injunction to prevent their arrest and prosecution were also not served with summons in time, the judge added.

"The service by the state government is a nullity. It was carried out yesterday (Monday), less than three days prescribed by law," defence lawyer Lateef Fagbemi told the court.

The case follows a coroner's ruling in July last year that blamed the SCOAN and two engineers for the September 12, 2014 collapse that killed 116 people, most of them South African.

The inquest verdict attributed the collapse of the six-storey guesthouse to structural failures and said it did not have planning permission.

Joshua, dubbed "The Prophet" and "Man of God" by his followers, maintains a mysterious "hovering" aircraft that was seen over the building before the tragedy, or a controlled explosion, was to blame.

He repeatedly failed to appear to give evidence at the inquest and was not present in court on Tuesday.


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