A Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere was yesterday told by a witness, Architect Dayo Olatunbosun Fabiyi that the building belonging to the Synagogue Church Of All National (SCOAN) was in general good conditions with no deflections before it collapsed.
Fabiyi told the court that there were no cracks, deflection or any defect noticed on the building the last time it was checked before it collapsed.
The Lagos State Government had sued the SCOAN over the collapsed building that killed 116 worshipers of the Church, on Sept. 12, 2014.
The defendants are two Engineers, Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun charged alongside their companies – Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Ltd.
They are facing trial on an 110-count charge of involuntary manslaughter while the Registered Trustees of SCOAN were charged with one-count charge of building without approval.
The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions accused the defendants of violating Section 75 of the Urban and Regional Planning Law of Lagos State, 2010 as well as Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
They were arraigned on April 19, 2016 but they pleaded not guilty.
At the resume of the proceedings, the witness who said he bagged BSc in Architecture and Masters in Environmental design, informed the court, presided by Justice Latest Lawal-Akapo that he is also a volunteer worker at SCOAN Maintenance Department since February 2014.
While being led in evidence by one of the defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Fabiyi stated that as a Maintenance personnel in SCOAN: “I usually carried out my duties on Tuesdays and Fridays and I go round the facilities to check the general conditions of the buildings so as to be sure everything is in order.
“We often spend over an hour during the routine check we carried out a check on the building few days before the incident.”
However, during cross-examination by the State’s prosecutor, Dr. Jide Martins, he affirmed that he was not involved in the investigation of the beams of the collapsed building.
He however maintained that cracks and defections are always visible to the eyes.
Fabiyi however agreed that he did not use any mechanical devises to check for defections during his maintenance.
During re-examination by the first defendant’s counsel, Diyun Oluseye, the witness told the court that it is not only Civil engineers that notices cracks on a building.
He also noted that mechanical devises are only used to investigate deflections after the building has already collapsed not before.
“The building must show signs that it’s been stressed or weak before it collapses but SCOAN building did not show any signs of stress,” he said.
Earlier, a fifth defense witness, Engr. Ebenezer Ologuntoye, on Thursday while being cross-examined by the Lagos State Prosecutor, Dr Babajide Martins, told an Igbosere High Court, Lagos that apart from foundational failure, other factors could be responsible for a building collapse.
It would be recalled that on March 21 during the witness (Ologuntoye’s) in his evidence-in-chief, he narrated that scientific test conducted on the foundation of the collapsed building indicated that the foundation of the building and the bearing capacity were adequate.
The witness, who said he was involved in the Mile 12/Ikorodu Road project, though was not directly contracted by Lagos State Government disclosed that : “as a civil engineer, apart from foundational failure, other factors can be responsible for the collapse of a building”.
In answering more questions from the prosecutor, he said that he was never contracted by the church to do any geotechnical work before the collapse.