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Judge rejects appeal over Nigeria church collapse

08 February 2016, 19:35

Lagos - A judge on Monday dismissed a bid by two contractors to stop their trial for criminal negligence over a building collapse at a Nigerian megachurch that killed 116 worshippers, most of them South Africans.

Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbola Fatiregun challenged their prosecution in relation to the tragedy at pastor TB Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos in September 2014.

But judge Lateef Lawal-Akapo, sitting at the Lagos high court, dismissed the defendants' appeal for the case to be dismissed, saying it had "no merit".

Both should appear with Joshua on February 18 to be charged, despite another legal challenge from the popular televangelist and preacher.

Also read: Five die as church collapses in Enugu

Joshua, a self-styled faith healer with a following across Africa, repeatedly refused to give evidence at the earlier coroner's inquest, despite multiple courts summons.

He suggested the catastrophic collapse was caused by a mysterious "hovering" aircraft seen over the six-storey building before the tragedy.

But expert witnesses discounted the theory at the inquest and the coroner attributed the collapse to the unauthorised addition of extra floors to the guesthouse on the sprawling SCOAN compound.

Judge Lawal-Akapo said he would not tolerate any unneccessary delay in the case and he would grant the trial "an accelerated hearing because of its importance".



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