Two weeks after the Coroner investigating the collapse of a guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, located in Ikotun area of Lagos demanded for the list of the people lodging in the building before the tragic accident, the church authorities have finally released the list.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Mr Oyetade Komolafe, who is the Coroner, said on Wednesday that the list of lodgers had been submitted to the court.
Komolafe made the disclosure at the resumption of proceedings at the Inquest set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the 12 September, 2014 incident, which killed 116 persons.
It was gathered from the coroner the Synagogue church, in compliance with the court’s directive, forwarded a comprehensive list of all persons who were lodged at the building prior to its collapse.
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Komolafe stated that a copy of the list would be made available to Prof. John Obafunwa, the Consultant Pathologist and Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State.
Obafunwa had on 16 October written a letter to the church, demanding for the list to help the pathologists to identify the victims.
Obafunwa, however, noted that the pathologists from South Africa did not participate in the autopsies conducted on the victims because they had no permit from the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council.
He said the South African pathologists only observed what was being done by their Nigerian counterparts, adding that they were very impressed with the physical structures on ground.
According to him, only finger printing experts from South Africa, who took the victims’ finger prints, participated in the exercise.
“The team was led by a brigadier in the South African Police. We met in company of members of the Nigerian Police and the later agreed that they were better trained and better equipped to do the finger printing.
“It was the reasonable thing to do because virtually everybody in South Africa already had their finger prints on the system,” Obafunwa added.
The pathologist maintained that the victims did not die from inhalation of smoke or exposure to corrosives, as suggested by Ojo.
He said although the bodies were embalmed immediately after they were brought to the morgues, it had no effect on the outcome of the analysis carried out on them.
Also testifying, Mr Oladimeji Ige, Resource Development and Training Officer, the Nigerian Red Cross Society, said his team participated in the search and rescue of the victims.
“When we got to the church, nobody prevented us from entering the collapse site.
“In total, the Nigerian Red Cross provided one ambulance, while the church provided at least 10 ambulances.
“We worked with other volunteers of the church in carrying the victims to the hospital ,” Ige said.
The matter was, however, adjourned till 30 October for further hearing.
It was revealed at the weekend that the Synagogue Church would allocate a sum of $4,500 (50,000 rand, or N750,000 in equivalent) to cover burial and other expenses of each family who lost a member in the building collapse.
According to SCOAN spokesperson in South Africa, Kirsten Nematandani, the church has completed the check of financial status of every family affected by the tragedy.
They travelled across all the provinces in South Africa to visit and support victims’ families.
The founder of SCOAN, Prophet T.B.Joshua had suggested that a strange aircraft flying over the premises might have been responsible for the guest house collapse.
He also stated that the collapse looked like a ‘controlled demolition’ rather than structural failure of the building.