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Court remands engineers of collapsed Synagogue Church building

LawThe two engineers who constructed the collapsed building belonging to Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) has been remanded in Kirikiri maximum prison pending their bail application.

The duo Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun were remanded by a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja following their arraignment before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

The defendants were arraigned on 111-count charge preferred against them by the state bordering on involuntary manslaughter, gross negligence and or reckless disregard for human life.

Their offence is contrary to Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

It would be recalled that the seven-story building at Ikotun Egbe area of Lagos State belonging to the church collapsed on September 12, 2014, which led to the death of 116 persons, mostly South Africans.

They pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.

The defendants in the suit are; Registered Trustees of SCOAN, Akinbola Fatiregun and his company, Hardrock Construction Company, Oladele Ogundeji and his company, Jandy Trust Limited as first to fifth defendants respectively.

The Lagos State government had late last year filed a 111-count criminal charges against trustees of the church, the two engineers, but the engineers filed separate applications asking the court to stop their prosecution.

Earlier, at the resume hearing, the judge in his ruling on the application filed by the engineers dismissed the applications for lack in merit.

Lawal-Akapo held that it is abuse of court process since there is stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal, the applications lack merit and substance and are dismissed.

“Section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) states that subject to the constitution, an application for a stay of proceedings in respect of a criminal matter before the High Court should not be entertained before the court.”

However, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs. Idowu Alakija, prayed the court to take the plea of the defendants.

The judge immediately ordered the arraignment of Fatiregun, Ogundeji and the trustees of SCOAN despite opposition from defence counsel.

After their plea was taken, DPP urged the court to invoke Section 357 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2011 for the 2nd and 3rd defendants and therefore asked that defendant be remanded in prison custody pending the commencement of trial.

Justice Lawal-Akapo remanded them in prison custody pending their hearing of bail application on April 26, 2016.



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