A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba has thrown out the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement initiated by the engineers who constructed the collapsed six-story Guest House owned by the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Ikotun, Lagos State.
It would be recalled that the Guest House collapsed on September 12, 2014, and killed 116 persons.
Specifically, the engineers; Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, had initiated two separate suits before the court praying for an order restraining the police from inviting, arresting or prosecuting them over the victims’ death, after a Lagos State Magistrates Court, presided over by Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe indicted them and further recommended them for investigation and prosecution for criminal negligence.
But the judge in his ruling declared that the engineers “had not made out a case of infringement on their fundamental rights even on the merit of the application.”
Justice Buba, while maintaining that the Coroner Law was an enactment of the Lagos State House of Assembly, which is constitutionally empowered to make laws in the state, argued that, “the Federal High Court could not dabble into the affairs of the state and start dishing out injunctive orders.”
He posited that the engineers’ prayer, asking for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos State Attorney General or any officer under his authority, from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings against them on the basis of the coroner verdict, cannot be granted in the circumstance of the case under review.
According to the judge, “The Coroner’s Inquest is not a court of law; it does not find anybody guilty, it only recommends. The Federal High Court cannot tamper with the Coroner Law, which is a Constitutional enactment of the Lagos State House of Assembly.”