Synagogue Collapse: Again, Lagos Court orders engineers kept in prison

Synagogue Collapse:  Again, Lagos Court orders  engineers kept in prison
April 27 11:43 2016

Two engineers who constructed the collapsed
 guest house of the Synagogue Church of All
Nations — Akinbela Fatiregun and Oladele
Ogundeji — are to remain in Kirikiri
 Maximum Prisons till May 3, a court ruled on
Tuesday.
Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja High
Court gave the order in a ruling on their bail
applications.
“Ruling is reserved for Tuesday, May 3, 2016,”
Mr. Lawal-Akapo told a crowded courtroom.

The engineers were on April 26 ordered to be
remanded in Kirikiri Prisons by Mr. Lawal-
Akapo following their “not guilty” plea to a
111-count charge bordering on gross
negligence and criminal manslaughter.
Earlier during Tuesday’s proceedings, counsel
to Mr. Fatiregun, Titi Akinlawon, in her
submission before the court, promised that the
defendants would not jump bail.
“The fifth defendant has been charged before
at the Magistrates’ Court and he did not jump
bail; he presented himself at all times.

“Prior to when he was granted bail by the
magistrates’ court, he was granted police bail
and he always presented himself.
“Since the entire essence of remand is for the
defendant not to jump bail, the defendant
going by his antecedents, has proven himself
to be honourable by not jumping bail on
previous occasions,” Mrs. Akinlawon said.
Olalekan Ojo, counsel to Mr. Ogundeji in his
application before the court, said Mr. Ogundeji
needed to be on bail in order to build his
defence.
He said: “The case of the prosecution is
founded on gross negligence, it will collapse
or succeed on the strength of experts’ opinion
and it is not pertinent for anyone to state the
evidence is overwhelming on technical issues.
“Because of the technical nature of the
evidence, there is need for the fourth
defendant to be on bail to liaise with experts
to build his defence.

“He cannot do this while on remand at the
Kirikiri Maximum Prisons.”
However, the prosecution led by Idowu
Alakija, the State Director of Public
Prosecutions, noted that the court was not
obliged to grant bail to the engineers.
She said: “The granting of bail is not
mandatory, this court has the discretion to
grant bail; but in so doing, it has to look at the
facts before it.
“My Lord, both the Supreme Court and the
Court of Appeal had in an avalanche of cases
held that a court needs not restrict itself to
matters in the affidavit, but the proofs
presented in court.

“We have emphasised that Oladele Ogundeji
has no address within the jurisdiction of the
court.
“If this court is to grant bail, I urge the court
to grant accelerated hearing without delay
because we have had too many delays caused
by applications presented by the defence in
this case.’’
The collapse of the guest house on Sept. 12,
2014 led to the deaths of 116 persons, 85 of
who were South Africans.
The Coroner’s Inquest instituted by the Lagos
State Government had in its verdict on July 8,
2015, said the building collapse was caused by
structural failure due to a combination of
designs and detailing errors.
The coroner ordered that Synagogue church
should be investigated and proceeded against
by the relevant authorities for not possessing
necessary building permits while the two
engineers involved in the construction of the
building should be tried for criminal
negligence.

(NAN)