The criminal trial relating to the collapsed six-storey building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) was to commence today, the 30th of November 2015. The Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Bola Akingbade had in a statement revealed that the trustees of the religious organization as well as the structural engineers who had refurbished the building would be arraigned today before Hon. Justice Lawal Akapo of the High Court of Lagos State sitting in Ikeja. The defendants could however not be arraigned today as none of the engineers were present in court. There was however a representative from SCOAN present at the day’s proceedings. The Attorney General of Lagos State, Adeniyi Kazeem who led the legal team for the prosecution informed the court that the state has been unable to serve the engineers with the notice of trial as a result of the fact that the state had invalid addresses for them. Counsel representing the defendants at the day’s proceedings, Mr. Oluseun Abimbola indicated that he could get the valid addresses of the defendants and the Judge gave him seventy-two hours to make the addresses available to the state and adjourned the case to the 11th of December 2015. The Judge has indicated that he would give the case accelerated hearing due to its nature and hinted at a possible day-to-day hearing.
Though the charges have not been read to the defendants, there have been hints that the defendants are being charged with manslaughter and failure to obtain requisite permit before refurbishing the building.
The Federal High Court had on the 9th of November 2015 dismissed the fundamental rights suits filed by two of the engineers, Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, seeking to stop their prosecution based on the coroner’s verdict indicting them of criminal negligence. Read more about the judgment of the court here.