Tuesday, March 22, 2016 5:56 pm
A judge on Tuesday adjourned the criminal negligence trial of popular Nigerian preacher TB Joshua over a fatal building collapse at his Lagos megachurch.
Joshua, church trustees and two engineers are accused of criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter after the 2014 collapse of a guesthouse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) that left 116 people dead, most of them South Africans.
Lagos High Court Judge Lateef Lawal-Akapo said the case would resume “on April 8 for arguments” after a fresh challenge was brought by the defendants to halt the trial.
TB Joshua’s trial has had several adjournments since last year due to numerous legal challenges.
The criminal case follows a coroner’s ruling in July 2015 that blamed the church and two engineers for the building tragedy.
The inquest verdict attributed the collapse of the six-storey guesthouse to structural failures and said it did not have planning permission.
Joshua, dubbed “The Prophet” and “Man of God” by his followers, maintains a mysterious “hovering” aircraft that was seen over the building before the tragedy, or a controlled explosion, was to blame.
He never appeared to give evidence at the inquest and has repeatedly failed to come to court since the trial began last year, drawing criticism from Nigerians that the country’s legal system is not strong enough to hold a rich and powerful man accountable.