Wednesday, December 10, 2014 5:00 pm
A Lagos coroner on Wednesday rejected an application to suspend an inquest into the deaths of 116 people in a church building collapse in Lagos but the hearing was adjourned until a higher court ruling.
Oyetade Komolafe has been hearing evidence about the September 12 tragedy involving a guesthouse for foreign followers of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).
Eighty-one South Africans were among the dead.
Lawyers for the head of SCOAN, popular pastor and televangelist TB Joshua, had sought to stop proceedings, arguing that Komolafe had exceeded his mandate by calling the preacher to give evidence.
But the coroner said he lacked the legal powers to stop the inquest and the hearing was neither a civil nor a criminal case but designed only to find out the facts of the collapse.
“What we have are interested parties. Therefore the inquest will continue as the application is hereby dismissed,” he told the court and adjourned the hearing until Friday.
A ruling on the same application is expected from the Lagos High Court.
Joshua, a self-styled miracle worker who counts African presidents and former heads of state among his flock, has claimed the building collapse may have been caused by sabotage.
But expert witnesses have said there was no explosion and said other buildings on the SCOAN site were shoddily built.