|Prophet Joshua of Synagogue|
Report By Nicolas Nice
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CCSOs) has accused the Lagos State Government of trying to subvert justice in the on-going trial involving Synagogue Church of All Nations and the state.
The group’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Adams Sanusi, in a press statement, said the group wishes “to draw the attention of Nigerians to a grand attempt by the Ministry of Environment of Lagos State to arm-twist SCOAN and Pastor T.B. Joshua into submission and accept guilt of the collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of all Nations in Lagos.”
On September 12, 2014, one of the hostels within the precinct of the church claimed the lives of many South Africans. Subsequently, Lagos State Government set up a coroner’s inquest to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the collapse and proffer recommendations.
The Coroner’s inquest, led by Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, after 10 months, released the report of the panel on July 8, 2015 in which it was recommended that the building collapse was as a result of structural /architectural deficit flowing from the use of substandard materials. It also alleged that the contractor/engineer did not obtain the necessary permits to erect the building.
The coroner’s court, therefore, recommended the prosecution of the contractor /Engineer (Hardrock Construction Company) and the SCOAN for negligence and failure to obtain necessary permits and approvals.
The group explained further that its primary concern is the insertion of what it called nebulous and far-reaching clause: “fitness for habitation test for all buildings within SCOAN”.
It argued that the prescription is aimed, not only to play to the gallery, “but a shameless attempt by the regulatory authority to abdicate its responsibility and shift the blame on Pastor T.B. Joshua and the church.”
“It is our considered opinion that the recommendation to conduct fitness test for the structures within The SCOAN is tantamount to working from the answer to the question. While we are not opposed to genuine investigative process or sincere inquiry, we are, however, strongly opposed to any sinister intention to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. It is not by accident that the period of the unfortunate incident coincided with a sustained media campaign of calumny against the church and the General Overseer”, the statement added.
It posited that while it wants justice served, but such must be served on a clean slate, saying “he who must come to equity must come with clean hands”.
It therefore urged the National Assembly to wade into the matter and prevent the looming miscarriage of justice; saying “the modern trend in global practices in criminal and civil justice administration is tilted towards correctional or redemptive measure as opposed to punitive.”