Synagogue Collapse: Five Dead Bodies Yet to be Identified, Says Obafunwa


Akinwale Akintunde

Two years after the tragic collapse of a six-storey guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), five dead bodies who fell victim of the collapsed are still yet to be identified.

The Lagos State Chief Medical Examiner, Professor John Obafunwa, disclosed this yesterday before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo at the ongoing trial of Trustees of SCOAN and the two engineers involved in the construction of the collapsed guesthouse, which led to the death of 116 persons, mostly South Africans on September 12, 2014.

The SCOAN trustees, the two engineers, Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun and their companies, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited were last month arraigned before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo on 111-count charge for their involvement in the collapsed building.

The 111-count charges preferred against the defendants by the state government borders on criminal negligence, manslaughter and failure to obtain building permit.

Led in evidence by Mrs. Idowu Alakija, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Obafunwa, who is a Consultant Pathologist to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and former Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), told the court that multiple injuries, traumatic asphyxia, severe blood loss, severe fracture and compression of the skull with the brain tissue, congested heart failure against the background of hypertention and accumulation of blood in the chest cavity resulted in the death of the late victims.

The chief medical examiner said “To avoid any decomposition, we have to embalm the bodies in the various mortuaries and were equally given identification numbers.
“On September 22, 2014, I received a coroners’ order to commence a post-mortem examination for identification purposes.

“The bodies were finger printed, examined externally, opened up and examined internally, and samples were taken from various organs to examine them under the microscope.

“We took samples of bones, muscles, pulled hair where available for the purposes of DNA analysis and those samples were sent to a laboratory in South Africa about middle of October, 2014.

“We also collected DNA samples from the relations of the deceased victims.
“The whole idea was to identify the cause of the death of the affected victims and in the process we were able to identify 110 victims from the 116 that died apart from the one that died after ten days he was admitted at LASUTH.

“All the dead bodies were issued a death certificate each after identification and the immediate cause of their death was indicated therein.”
Justice Lawal-Akapo adjourned til January 19, 2017 for continuation of trial.