Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has set aside October 19, 2015 to entertain the suits asking it to throw out the coroner’s verdict on the September 12, 2014 collapse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations’ guest house.
The actions were initiated by the structural engineers who supervised the collapsed six-storey guest house owned by the church.
The engineers, are Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, . The duo had been found guilty of criminal negligence by the Lagos State Coroners Court sitting in Ikeja.
The Coroners Court, presided over by Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe had conducted an inquest into the deaths of the 116 persons who lost their lives in the tragic incident.
Chief Magistrate Komolafe had specifically given a recommendation that the state government should investigate and prosecute the duo.
However, the engineers through their lawyer, Olalekan Ojo questioned the verdict and subsequently described same as “unreasonable, one-sided and biased.”
They therefore approached Justice Mohammed Idris to invalidate both the virdictverdict and recommendations and that same should be described as null and void.
More so, they are praying the judge to stop the Attorney General (AG) of the state or any officer acting under his authority from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings against the applicants on the basis of the findings and recommendations of the coroner.
The plaintiffs further want Justice Idris to issue a declaration that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police (CP), does not have the powers to act on the coroner’s verdict to investigate or prosecute them.
The judge, who had while entertaining separate ex parte applications instituted by the plaintiffs, had on July 22, 2015 ordered that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of the main suit.
However, the case came up on Wednesday before Justice Buba to whom it has now been transferedtransferred.
At the resumption of proceedings on the matter, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Ojo intimated the court that though he had received a counter-affidavit filed in opposition by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, his reply was filed out of time.
The lawyer also argued that his clients has have the intention of paying the penalty sum, with a further prayer that he wanted a short stand-down to process the payment.
But the judge had a contrary view when he insisted that instead of standing down the matter, he would prefer to adjourn to a further date to take all applications that are pending.