SCOAN Coroners Inquest: BCPG Begins Investigation

SCOAN-Collapse-2The Coroners Inquest into the collapse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) has continued at the site of the collapsed building on Monday, with the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), continuing investigation into the cause of the collapse.

A Coroner had been set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the cause of the collapse and this led to the Building Collapse Prevention Guild’s need to carry out further investigation on the foundation of the structure.

The President of the BCPG, while affirming the need for the visitation to the site of the collapsed building, said that the investigation would take few days.

Channels Television also paid a visit to the site to witness how the BCPG carried out some of its operations.

With the help of a machine, the investigation covers the soil strength and the quality of foundation made by the builders.

A representative of the church told our correspondent that they were confident, noting that the fact would speak for itself.


SCOAN Files Appeal Against Its Prohibition Suit By Lagos High Court

SynagogueThe Registered Trustees of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), alongside its founder, Prophet Temitope Joshua, has informed the Lagos State Coroners Court sitting in Ikeja that it has filed a Notice of Appeal at the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal, against the judgment of Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

The revelation came through counsel to SCOAN, Seun Abimbola, while reacting to a request that the counsel should pick a date that the prophet would appear before the Chief Magistrate, Oyetade Komolafe.

Justice Okunnu had thrown out an application instituted by SCOAN, alongside its founder, which had prayed the court to stop the ongoing Coroner’s inquest into the collapsed guest house belonging to the church.

The judge’s reason for the dismissal was that the said application was premature and lacks merit.

Justice Okunnu declared that although the Coroner’s court cannot be sued, Chief Magistrate Komolafe, himself could be sued in his capacity as a Coroner.

The Judge stated further that the court needed to resolve the issue as to whether the Coroner has acted contrary to the rules of natural justice by not granting the applicants a fair hearing, and whether he has exceeded the scope of a coroner’s court.

Justice Okunnu explained that Sections 26 and 27 of the Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State 2007, empower the coroner to summon any witness to assist him in his fact-finding mission, adding that there was nothing unusual in the summons extended to Prophet Joshua.

Synagogue Building: Incident Will Not Affect Our Relations With Nigeria – SA High Commissioner

Louis Mnguni South Africa High Commissioner to Nigeria.The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Lulu Mnguni has allayed fears that bi lateral relations between Nigeria and South Africa will be affected by the death of South Africans in a six-storey guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).

Speaking via a telephone interview, Amb Mnguni said the “we have come a long way in building the relationship of the two countries”.

He said Nigeria has been very helpful in repatriating the bodies of the dead South Africans and noted that they remain grateful to Nigeria despite the challenges.

“These are challenges which are testing our relation and of course we will always transcend them.

“So there are no proven tensions. We are working together with Nigeria as far as this matter is concerned and Nigeria is leading in trying to address the situation.

“We know that the search and rescue has ended and therefore the number has gone up to 84,” Mr Mnguni said.

Unconfirmed Anti-Nigerian Sentiments

Unconfirmed reports had filtered that the number of dead South Africans is fuelling some anti-Nigerian sentiments in South Africa. The reports said some Nigerians were attacked in the aftermath in an area in the outskirts of Johannesburg.

But reacting to this, the South African National Police Commissioner General, Reah Phiyega, told Channels Television’s correspondent, Betty Dibiah, in Pretoria, that she was yet to receive such a report, promising that the agency would investigate the allegations.

“This is no time for finger-pointing but a time for all affected to deal with the disaster as one,” she, however, said.

More Buildings Will Collapse In Nigeria, Agency Warns

Joseph_OdumoduThe Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Joseph Odumodu on Thursday warned that “more buildings will collapse in Nigeria if the real issues are not addressed immediately.

“Every time there is a collapse, we must carry out an investigation and come out with a verdict”, he said, adding that “anytime you go to where a building collapses, you wont find an engineer or architect; everybody disappears.

“And we all forget about it, until the next one happens” and “we just cant continue with this” he said on Sunrise Daily.

He further noted that “for us to find a lasting solution to building collapses, we have to work together” revealing “that SON has a recipe.

“We must ensure that architects are involved in designs and structural engineers are involved in structures; but that is not where it ends. The state governments must do the approvals” he said.

He commended the efforts of the Lagos State government where builders “apply for approval for any milestone when you are building adding that “the major reason for building collapses, is that the concrete mixture has failed”.

Mr Odumodu also revealed that after visiting building centres in Abuja, Lagos and other states he “only found engineers in less than 10 per cent of those sites. So at the end of the day those who are mixing the cement are ordinary artisans and most of them are not certified.

“So we also must ensure that artisans are certified”, he opined.

He also noted that from statistics obtained from a national survey conducted by SON, “less than five per cent of blocks in Nigeria meet the NIS Standard 587 of 2007” which states that “you mix one portion of cement to six portions of sand to produce 22 nine inches of blocks from a bag.

“But I have been to block industries and they produce 45 blocks” from a bag.

Mr Odumodu also urged cement producers to start printing important information on their products to so as to avoid building collapse.

“There is no bag of cement that carries a batch number, there is no bag of cement that carries an expiry date or use before date” adding that “they don’t carry information on how they should be applied; they don’t even tell you how you should store it”, he said.

He warned that “if you store cement on the floor, it will take moisture” because it is hygroscopic, adding that “if it takes moisture, its activity reduces’.

He said market surveys have shown that 50kg cement bags contain 45kg of the product and sometimes expired products which could be a contributing factor to devastating building collapse.

“Our job is about traceability. I go to a place where a building comes down and I am able to tell that these people (company) supplied all the re-inforcement bars used for the construction and I am able to take a sample of that and take it back to the manufacturer” to ascertain its reliability.

He further urged Nigerians to know about the grade of cement they use because the grade determines the kind of structure that can be built with the product.

He further noted that there are new rules which demands “standards for flooring, plastering, slabs and columns”.

He went down memory lane to recall an international cement company operating in Nigeria “that wanted to register 22.5 (cement) but called it mercenary cement” maintaining that “people were misapplying quality material” and “if you misapply them, they will give you wrong results; and that is the problem”.

Jonathan Visits Site Of Collapsed Synagogue Church Building

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has arrived the site of the collapsed six storey guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ikotun Area of Lagos State, south west Nigeria.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed to reporters in Lagos that 78 people died as a result of the incident while many others were injured.

The Founder and General Overseer of the church, Temitope Joshua, popularly referred to as T.B Joshua, has linked the collapse  to a “strange aircraft” which he said hovered around the building before it collapsed.

While briefing journalists on the incident, the pastor provided a video evidence, showing a flying aircraft, to back his claim.

In the video, a plane was seen flying over the collapsed guest house belonging to the church at four different times, between 11:30 am and 11:54 am – on Friday morning. The building collapsed at about 1pm, on the same day.

He further alleged that he was the target of the hovering jet.

Lagos Will Investigate Video Clip Of Unapproved Synagogue Building – Commissioner

Toyin_AyindeThe Lagos State Commissioner for Town Planning and Urban Development, Mr Toyin Ayinde, on Wednesday said the state government will investigate the authenticity of the clip showing a helicopter hovering over a building minutes before it collapsed within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), adding that the collapsed building has no approval from the state government.

“We are investigating the CCTV clip. One thing we noticed was that there were about four planes that moved at different times of the day. Because that area is within the flight corridor, there was a pattern in the movement. You will see them in an ascending direction, meaning that they were just taking off from the airport.

“But because of the distance of the aircraft from the building, relative to where the camera is situated, you cant say if it is the same aircraft; you can’t say whether there are four different aircrafts, but one of the things we want to suggest is that any aircraft that is going to drop anything on a building will likely be in a stable position and not while it is rising”, he said

He also said the Federal Government installed CCTV cameras would have also helped in fighting crime in the state and monitoring such collapses but noted that none of them has been activated.

“The Federal Government has set up cameras in Lagos State and those cameras have not been activated. They also would have helped us in detecting some crimes and finding out somethings that are happening, especially in those areas where the cameras have been situated.”

He said the Lagos State government has drafted a letter to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) “so that they can be able to advice us on which aircrafts flew at those hours of the day and what was their relative position and altitude in terms of the collapsed building”.

He further noted that “the second reason why we are doing further investigations is that if you look at that clips, the manner of collapse seems to be a controlled collapse; which is why there is need for further investigations” adding that “as at yesterday, there were parts of the ground floor that were already exposed and we have already sent our engineers there to take samples so that we are able to find out what kind of materials were (used) there”.

Mr Ayinde ruled out the possibility of the building being too close to a flight corridor and being too frail to be brought down by the sound and wave of an aircraft, noting that “the surrounding buildings must have had some cracks; which is part of what we are also asking our engineers to investigate.

He however didn’t give a time frame for the completion of the investigation but assured that “it is on the front burner of the government and everybody is very concerned about the collapse”, insisting that “this collapse will be a lesson that everybody will learn from”.

He further noted that “that particular structure does not have approval. Because if it came for approval, we will have a name of the designers, structural engineers, architects and so on. But on our records we don’t have that and somebody has to explain what was done and what was not done”

The Commissioner, who was speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, also urged Nigerians to be interested in the lives that were lost and sympathise with the bereaved families.