Friday 31 October 2014

Collapsed Synagogue Church building had no approval – Lagos State Govt.

The Lagos State Government on Thursday said that the collapsed guest house within the premises of Synagogue Church of All Nations had no building permit.

The building collapsed on September 12th and killed 116 people.

Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Olutoyin Ayinde, made the information known while testifying at the ongoing Coroner’s inquest into the incident.

Ayinde told the inquest chaired by Oyetade Komolafe that investigations carried out by the ministry showed that the six-storey building had no approval.

“From our records, we saw the approval in the name of Synagogue Church of All Nations dated January 26th, 2004.

“The approval was just for the main auditorium of the church. It was an approval for a five-floor development.

“However, on our visit to the site, we discovered that it has been taken to the eighth floor; making the additional three floors illegal structures.

“For the collapsed building, we did not find anything relating to it in our records. It does not have our approval,” Ayinde added.

The commissioner also expressed safety concerns over the additional floors being constructed at the church auditorium.

“In the ongoing construction, there is a lift shaft that is being developed and one of the columns is not taking off from the ground floor. It is erected on a water tank

“I don’t know if an engineer certified that but it should be investigated,” he said.

Ayinde said the ministry wrote to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to get information on the mysterious aircraft that was said to have flown four times close to the building before it collapsed.

He said from the NCAA’s response which was used by the Surveyor-General to plot the flight path swath, it was discovered that the plane was flying at about 1,100ft.

Under cross-examination by the church’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, the commissioner admitted that the existence of a building approval had nothing to do with its structural stability.

“From the CCTV footage I watched, I discovered that the collapsed building fell asymmetrically. I can confirm that there are cases of induced demolition of a building,” he said

Ayinde disclosed that the debris from the site had been sent to the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory for analysis and that the result was still being awaited.

Also testifying, Joseph Agbenla, the Surveyor-General of Lagos State, said he plotted the coordinates of the flight path of the Nigerian Airforce plane.

According to him, the aircraft flew at 137.02 metres or about 1,100ft above the building before it collapsed.

Meanwhile, the court granted a request made by the South African High Commission for it to be granted more time for consultations before bringing its witnesses before the court.

The coroner also ordered a lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, to walk out of the court after he attempted to stop the day’s proceedings.

Ogungbeje had filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking to stop the inquest on the grounds that the outcome was premeditated.

The matter was adjourned till November 5th for the founder of the church, Prophet Temitope Joshua, to testify.


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