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Published On: Wed, Nov 5th, 2014

Synagogue: Court refuses to halt investigation by Coroner

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From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday refused to halt the ongoing inquest into the Synagogue building collapse, saying the matter must be heard on its merit.
The judge took the decision while ruling on an oral application by an applicant, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, who sought to stop further sittings in the Coroner’s Court, pending the outcome of the suit at the Federal High Court.
A six-storey building, designated as Guest House on the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Lagos, had on September 12 collapsed killing over a 100 people,most of whom were foreigners.
As a result, the Lagos state government constituted a Coroner’s Court headed by Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe to unravel the circumstances leading to the incident fourteen days later.
Unhappy with the development, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, on October 28 filed a suit, seeking an order, restraining further proceedings in the inquest, pending the determination of his substantive suit at the FHC.
Listed, as defendants in the suit are the Lagos state government, the Attorney General of the state, Mr. Ade Ipaye and Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe.
When the case was mentioned on Tuesday, Counsel representing all the respondents, Mr. Akinjide Bakare, informed the court that he had been served with the processes filed by the applicant, but prayed the court for a short time to regularise his responses.
In reaction, Counsel to the applicant, Mr. Nelson Okedinachi, said although he was not opposed to the adjournment, it was important for the court to issue an order, restraining the Coroner from further inquest.
He informed the court that the General Overseer of the Church, Prophet T.B Joshua, had already been summoned to appear before the Coroner on November 5, adding that it was important to stop them.
After listening to the submissions of counsels, Justice Ibrahim Buba held that an order of interim injunction was not necessary in the situation, since the applicant was not personally affected by the inquest.

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