Absence of judge stalls ruling on Synagogue collapse

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed November 9 to rule on a suit by an engineer of the Synagogue Church, Akinbela Fatiregun, seeking enforcement of his rights.

The suit, which was earlier fixed for ruling on a preliminary objection, was adjourned following the absence of Ibrahim Buba, the trial judge.

The court registrar announced to counsels that the court would not be sitting for the day and a new date was fixed for the ruling. A guest house within the premises of the Synagogue Church in the Ikotun area of Lagos, collapsed on September 12, 2014, leading to the death of over 100 persons. Following the collapse, the Lagos state government set up a coroner’s inquest to ascertain the cause of death.

The inquest, presided over by Oyetade Komolafe, the chief magistrate, in its verdict, indicted the church for criminal negligence and recommended that it be prosecuted.

The coroner also indicted the church’s structural engineers, Fatiregun and Oladele Ogundeji, and recommended that they be investigated and tried for criminal negligence. Fatiregun filed the suit to challenge the verdict of the coroner’s court.

Joined as respondents in the suit are the Lagos state commissioner of police, Council of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), the attorney general of Lagos and Komolafe, the coroner. Fatiregun is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the commissioner of police in Lagos from arresting, detaining, investigating or prosecuting him.

He also wants an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the Lagos state attorney general or any officer under his authority from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings against him based on the verdict of the coroner.

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