Law News
Synagogue: Lagos opposes plea to stop engineers’ prosecution

The Lagos State Government has opposed an application seeking to stop the prosecution of the two engineers who built the collapsed Synagogue Church Of All Nations’ six-storey building.

The two structural engineers, Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, had gone to court to seek an order quashing the verdict of the coroner’s inquest which advised the state to prosecute them for criminal negligence.

They are seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos State Attorney General or any officer under his authority from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings against them on the basis of the coroner’s verdict that indicted them of criminal negligence.

They also prayed the court to stop the police from arresting or investigating them based on the verdict of the coroner.

Contrary to the claim by SCOAN that the collapsed building was sabotaged, the coroner had, on July 8, 2015, found that structural defect was responsible for the collapse of the building,

The coroner, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, had then held the engineers liable for the death of the 116 persons who perished in the September 12, 2014 tragic incident and recommended them for prosecution.

But the engineers, who are displeased with the verdict of the coroner, had approached a Federal High Court in Lagos seeking outright dismissal of the coroner’s recommendations.

While seeking the protection of the court, the engineers, through their lawyer, Mr. Olelekan Ojo, claimed that the police had been after them, saying that their constitutional rights to dignity and personal liberty, enshrined in sections 34 and 35 of the constitution, were at stake as they could no longer move about freely.

They urged the court to make an order restraining the police from arresting or inviting them for questioning based on the verdict of the coroner.

The court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, after listening to Ojo on July 22, ordered the police to suspend all actions in the matter till the suit filed by the engineers were determined.

However, at the resumed proceedings on Monday, Lagos State, represented by its Solicitor-General, Mr. Lawal Pedro, appeared in court with a preliminary objection to the engineers’ prayers.

Contrary to the engineers’ claim that the suit was filed to protect their fundamental human rights, Pedro contended that the suit was aimed at quashing the verdict of the coroner.

While challenging the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate over the suit, Pedro said since the respondents were not agencies of the Federal Government, they were not subjected to the authority of the Federal High Court where the engineers filed their suit.

He described the suit as “a gross abuse of court processes.”

He asked the court to determine whether the engineers had put sufficient material facts before it to establish that their fundamental human rights had been or were about to be breached as they had claimed.

Justice Idris adjourned till September 30, 2015 to hear the preliminary objection.

Click here to read from source.

You must be logged in to post a comment.