Synagogue Collapsed Building: Contradictions and insufficient Information Mar Coroner’s Inquest

 

Under cross-examination by counsel to The SCOAN, Ojo Olalekan, Mr. Adedamola had agreed that the building, going by the first CCTV footage he watched, collapsed symmetrically typical of induced or controlled demolition. Moments later, while being cross-examined by counsel to the state, Akingbolahon Adeniran, he contradicted his earlier stance, claiming that after a second look at the CCTV footage, he had discovered that the building collapsed asymmetrically typical of structurally-deficient buildings.

Furthermore, he agreed that a lack of building approval bears no semblance to its structural integrity. He said, “That a building does not have a plan is not a determinant of structural defects because there are buildings with plans officially that have collapsed. Yes, a building in Jakande Estate, Isolo recently collapsed due to structural defects even though it had a duly approved plan. When I watched the clips of the collapsed Synagogue building before the commencement of the coroner’s inquest, the building fell in one swoop which is typical of symmetric fall. I have heard of induced demolition but haven’t seen one before. In induced demolition, the building falls symmetrically as against asymmetric collapse, where a building falls due to structural defects. By this, the building collapses from the weakest point. However, the building I watched collapse in the CCTV footage didn’t tilt towards any weaker part”.

Concerning the allegation that officials of LASEMA and NEMA were prevented from entering the scene of the incident, the Commissioner admitted that the agencies were duty-bound to identify themselves properly to the appropriate authorities owing to the emergency nature of the incident: “I agree that the police have the right to monitor movement within and outside the scene of the incident and that the government agencies are obliged to identify themselves. However, I can’t confirm that they did this since I was not at the scene of the incident on the first day”.

On his own part, the Surveyor General of Lagos State, Mr. Joseph Olorunyomi, stated that the aircraft seen flying close to the ill-fated building at The SCOAN several times on the day of the incident was actually flying far above the church and thus was not linked to its collapse.

However, during cross examination by counsel to The SCOAN, Ojo Olalekan, he admitted that his report emanated from documental data sent to him by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities (NCAA) and the Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development. He also confessed that since the day of the incident, he had not once visited the site of the collapsed building: “I didn’t visit the site neither did I send officials to the scene to investigate so as to form the basis of my report. I only relied on information given to me by NCAA and other relevant Lagos State agencies”.

The court was adjourned until November 5th 2014 when the inquest would hear from more witnesses.

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