Lagos - A Federal High Court in Lagos on
Tuesday refused to grant injunction restraining the ongoing inquest into
the collapse of a building in Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos.
Justice Ibrahim Buba said the court would not grant the
restraining order, but rather hear the case on its merit.
Buba said this while delivering ruling on an oral
application by Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje seeking to stop further investigation into
the building collapse by the Coroner's court.
It is reported that 116 people
were killed on Sept. 12 due to the collapse of a six-storey building within the
premises of the church.
The Lagos State Government, had on Sept. 26, constituted a
Coroner's inquest to unravel the circumstances leading to the incident.
A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, on Oct. 28, filed a suit at the FHC
to stop the inquest.
The respondents in suit are the Lagos State Government, the
Attorney General of the State, Mr Ade Ipaye, and Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe,
When the case was mentioned on Tuesday, counsel to the
applicant, Mr Nelson Okedinachi, said it was necessary for the court to issue
an order restraining the Coroner from further investigating the incident.
Also read: Collapsed building: Synagogue gives list of lodgers to Inquest
He said that the General Overseer of the Church, Prophet T.B
Joshua, had already been summoned to appear before the coroner on Nov. 5,
adding that it was important to stop this.
"The draconian speed at which the coroner's court is
sitting, simply means that after it summons Prophet T.B Joshua, it would make
its findings and submit its report; then this entire suit will be a waste.
"It is therefore important for my lord to restrain them
from further inquest into the matter".
Mr Akinjide Bakare, the Counsel to Lagos State Government,
said that there was no basis for the application which sought to restrain the
continued sitting of the Coroners’ inquest.
"T.B Joshua is not held in detention and has not refused to
appear before the court, so I wonder why a man will drink Panadol for another
man's headache," he said
Buba held that an order of interim injunction was not
necessary in the situation since the applicant was not personally affected by
"Although, Okedinachi wants an order of interim
injunction restraining T.B Joshua from appearing before the coroner, I must say
that he is not a party to the suit, neither is he held in detention.
"The respondents were served with the court processes
on Friday, and by the rules, they have five days to respond, but time was
abridged and they accepted, and so, let us not lose sight of the issue here.
"If Ogungbeje was the party summoned before the
coroner, then the issue of a restraining order will arise, but in this
situation, how can I restrain the whole world.
"The applicant has not shown that he will suffer any
danger if the restraining order is not granted, and so, I will hear this case
on its merit on Thursday, Nov. 6, and I will not grant any restraining order;
this is the ruling of this court," he said
The applicant, in his suit averred that the
composition of the Coroner's Court was a negation of the principle of natural
justice and Section 36 of the Constitution, and as such, was unconstitutional
He averred that the inquest was constituted by the Lagos
State Government after the agencies of the state government had indicted the
Church of erecting additional structures on an already existing building
He argued that if allowed to continue, the proceedings of
the Coroner inquest will occasion a miscarriage of justice, as the same Coroner
would based its decision on the testimonies of the same agencies of Lagos
The lawyer alleged that the Lagos State Emergency Agency
(LASEMA), the Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Lagos State Fire Service
had made prejudicial reports that the building collapsed due to additional
He averred that the contention of the church that the
building collapsed as a result of an aircraft hovering round the building
moments before it collapsed was ignored.
Ogungbeje averred that The Lagos State Building Control
Agency went ahead to seal up the main building of the church.
The lawyer is therefore seeking an order nullifying the
composition of the Coroner and the proceedings so far, as well as an order of
perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants jointly and severally from
He wants every sitting, investigation, fact finding or any
action in any manner whatsoever on any facts connected to the case to be put on
hold until the suit is determined.