Synagogue: Court dismisses suit by engineers

Collapse building in the church

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday struck out an application by two engineers to the Synagogue Church, seeking the enforcement of their fundamental rights.

The engineers: Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, had filed the suit through their counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, challenging the verdict of a coroner’s court which indicted them of criminal negligence in the collapse of the church’s guest house.

Joined as respondents were: the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Council of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), the Attorney General of Lagos State and Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, the Coroner.

The applicants sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State from arresting, detaining, investigating or prosecuting them.

They also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the state Attorney General or any officer under his authority from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings against them, based on the coroner ‘s verdict.

Ruling on the application on Monday, Justice Ibrahim Buba held that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

The judge held that not every infraction constituted a breach of fundamental rights, saying the breach must be in relation to those stipulated under Chapter 4 of the constitution.

According to Buba, the Lagos State House of Assembly enacted a law setting up the Coroner’s court, adding that the Coroner’s court was not a law court, but a fact-finding body.

“The Coroner’s law is an enactment of the Lagos State House of Assembly. which is constitutionally empowered to make laws in the state.
“A Coroner’s inquest is not a court of law; it does not find anyone guilty, it only makes recommendations.

“Its proceedings can be challenged but certainly not before the Federal High Court; its law is constitutionally set up, and cannot be tampered with.

“The action of the coroner’s court cannot be unilaterally questioned, except where it is done contrary to the law, or where fraud characterises the action taken.

“The Federal High Court will not have jurisdiction to dabble into the affairs of government and start dishing out injunctive orders.

“Without re-visiting the issue of jurisdiction, I hold that the applicant has not made out a case of infringement on his fundamental rights, even on the merit of the application.

“This court has no difficulty in upholding the argument of the respondent that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the application.
“This application stands dismissed,’’ he said.

The court also noted that section 4 of the police Act empowered the police to carry out investigations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Synagogue Church had collapsed on Sept. 12, 2014, resulting to the death of more than 100 persons.

Following the collapse, the Lagos State Government had initiated a coroner’s inquest, to ascertain the cause of death.

The inquest, presided over by Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, in its verdict, indicted the Synagogue Church over alleged criminal negligence and recommended that it should be prosecuted.

The Coroner had also indicted the structural engineers who supervised the construction, Ogundeji and Fatiregun.

The court had recommended that they should be investigated and tried over alleged criminal negligence.

NAN recalls that the engineers had then filed the suit, challenging the verdict of the coroner’s court.

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

1 Comment
  • Yemi Amodu

    Sterling Homes ltd selling Plots and Acres of Land

    Hebron garden estate is owned by Sterling homes Ltd and it’s
    completely free from “omo-onile” and government acquisition. Land
    mass: more than 10acres. Land type: dry, sandy and leveled. Location: Lekki,
    about 6minutes drive to Eleko beach and 15minutes drive to Lekki free trade
    zone. There are several notable Landmarks before the estate. These include, The
    Lagos Business School, Crown Estate, Farapark, Sapphire Garden, Green Springs
    School and Shares immediate environment with Mayfair Gardens and Beechwood
    Estate & lots more. PAYMENT PLAN FOR A PLOT: *Smart plan: Outright payment
    #2.8m. *Easy Plan: ‎#3m. Spread #210,000 for 10months after the initial deposit
    of #900,000. Contact Yemi Amodu @ Sterling Homes LTD for site inspections and
    more information: Plot 2, River Valley Estate, Ojodu Berger. Mobile 08136119495

    Havilah park and garden is an estate located about 6mins
    drive off the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. It’s about 25mins drive to Berger
    bus-stop. The estate is fenced with a gate house, and our ultra- modern
    borehole is already in place. The price of a plot is #630,000 outright, and we
    still have other installment plan also. For more information and site
    inspection call Yemi Amodu @ Sterling Homes LTD: Plot 2, River Valley Estate,
    Ojodu Berger, Lagos. Mobile: 07084546154, 08136119495

    Moriah park is situated at Agbowa, Ikorodu. The estate is
    facing the Lagos state housing scheme popularly called Fashola estate. It’s
    fenced round with a gate house and an industrial borehole has been constructed
    at the site as well. It’s selling for a promotional offer of #750,000 outright,
    though we still have other installment payment option. For more information and
    site inspection, call Yemi @ Sterling Homes LTD: Plot 2, River Valley Estate,
    Ojodu Berger, Lagos. Mobile: 07084546154, 08136119495