Lagos Investigates Fresh Stampede in Synagogue Church

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Contractors, engineers face trial Jan 19

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government yesterday disclosed that it would investigate the fresh stampede that occurred at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Ikotun penultimate weekend, claiming at least three lives.

Similarly, a Lagos High Court in Ikeja said it would continue with the trial of the contractors and engineers involved in the construction of SCOAN’s guest house that collapsed on September 12, 2014 and killed 116 persons.  

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, disclosed the plan of the state government to investigate the alleged stampede in a statement he issued yesterday.

Kazeem said the state government was aware of the incident, which he said, occurred in the premises of the Synagogue Church in Ikotun penultimate weekend and reportedly culminated in the death of about three victims.

The attorney-general added that the state government would ensure proper and thorough investigation of the incident and take appropriate and necessary step on the outcome of the investigation.

He, therefore, noted that the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, assuring that the administration was committed to ensuring security and safety of all residents and visitors. 

On the trial of SCOAN contractors and engineers, the defendants were last month arraigned on 111-count charge bordering on criminal negligence, manslaughter and failure to obtain building permit.

The defendants include the SCOAN Trustees, two engineers – Mr. Oladele Ogundeji and Mr. Akinbela Fatiregun and their companies – Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited.

The defendants, who are currently standing trial before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, were charged with a 111-count charge for alleged involvement in the SCOAN guest house that collapsed and killed 116 persons on September 12, 2014.

However, the judge fixed January 19, 2017 for the continued trial of the defendants. 

At the last hearing last week, Lagos State Chief Medical Examiner, Professor John Obafunwa, told the court that five dead bodies who fell victim of the incident were yet to be identified.

Obafunwa said the victims of the collapsed building died due to 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 hypertension and accumulation of blood in the chest cavity.

He 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.”