On Thursday, the sitting of the coroner probing the Synagogue building collapse was shunned by Prophet T.B Joshua, founder, Synagogue Church of All Nations. The sitting was adjourned till Friday (today).
Scheduled for appearance on Thursday before the coroner, Magistrate O.A. Komolafe, were the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, the Lagos State Ministry of Works, Joshua and the contractor that built the failed structure.
While the SON and Ministry of Works were represented, both Joshua and the contractor were absent and no reason was given for their absence.
But the sitting was halted mid-way through the testimony of the SON witness, Mr. Bede Obayi, head of SON’s Inspectorate and Compliant Department.
Before the adjournment, Obayi, a Metallurgical and Material engineer, had submitted to the coroner results of three separate tests carried out on samples of the materials used in building the collapsed building.
Obayi told the coroner that immediately his team received the news of the building collapse, they visited the site and collected relevant samples, including iron rods and the broken bricks.
According to Obayi, SON’s investigations traced the iron rods used as the reinforcement timbers of the failed building to four different companies.
Obayi explained that after collecting the samples, SON submitted them to three different laboratories, in order to ensure the accuracy of the results.
He said one sample was submitted to a neutral steel rolling company, which was not one of the four implicated companies; another set of samples were also sent to the four companies implicated and a third sample was submitted for analysis at the SON laboratory.
The witness added that the source of the samples was not disclosed to the laboratories in order to prevent undue influence on the outcome of the tests.
Though the verdict contained in the submitted test results had not been revealed before the court’s electronic recorder became faulty, Obayi had, however, submitted that the input of the owner of the building and the contractor who built it would be needed to draw useful inference from the submitted test results.
“We have got three results but they are not enough to draw a definite conclusion; it is only the contractor and the owner of the building that will be able to give us the history of the construction and that is why we felt their own input are very germane,” Obayi said.