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Coroner Visits Synagogue, Demands Lodgers’ List

Coroner Visits Synagogue, Demands Lodgers’ List
Pastor T. B. Joshua

The coroner (a government official who confirms and certifies the death of an individual within a jurisdiction) investigating the cause of the September 12 Synagogue building collapse has demanded for the list of the people lodging in the building prior to the accident.

This demand was made on Thursday during a visit to the site of the collapsed building by the coroner, Magistrate O. A. Komolafe.

Komolafe, who made the demand, said the list would be an important complement to the work of the pathologists in identifying the corpses.

“We want to be able to identify all the victims, because those bodies will not be released to their relatives if we cannot identify them.

“They will be given mass burial, which is not appropriate,” Komolafe said.

The coroner reiterated that the mission of his court was not to convict anyone but to uncover the factor responsible for the collapse of the six-storey building.

“Like I said at the inaugural sitting, we are not here on a witch-hunt or to convict anybody. We are here for a fact-finding purpose and how we can ascertain the cause of the incident,” he added.

In his own submission, the Lagos State Chief Forensic Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa, who accompanied the coroner on the visit, buttressed the coroner, adding that there was no harm in making the list available to the court.

Obafunwa also delivered a formal letter addressed to the church requesting for the manifest.

He said, “In an investigation of this nature, we need to carry out our own tests. “DNA analysis will not give you a name. There is nothing wrong with what we are asking for.”

Responding on behalf of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, its lawyer, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), noted that the DNA of all the families of the victims had been submitted to the pathologists more than two weeks ago.

Fagbemi reiterated that the church was ready to cooperate with the coroner in unravelling the cause of the building collapse, adding that the requested list would be provided by his client.

The Chief Security Officer of the church, Mr. Sunday Okojie, received the coroner and his entourage on behalf of the church.

While conducting the team round the site of the incident, Okojie showed them the CCTV which captured the events shortly before and after the building collapsed.

Others who went on the visit with the coroner were the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, and the lawyer for the state government, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran.

Also on the visit were the representatives of the Nigeria Police Force, the Red Cross Society and the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority.

The next sitting of the coroner court has been fixed for October 24, 2014.

Source: Punch

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