Nigerian students from different parts of the country stormed the premises of the Ikeja High Court, Lagos during the Thursday November 20, 2014 hearing in the coroner’s inquest into the collapsed Synagogue, Church Of All Nations building.
The placard-carrying students called on the Federal Government as well as the Lagos State Government to face the real issues and avoid the diversionary tactics aimed at witch-hunting Prophet T.B. Joshua, whom they described as a fatherly figure.
The students observed that unless the government made tangible efforts to address pertinent issues surrounding the collapse of the church building, they would have no choice than to embark on a nation-wide mass protest in solidarity with Joshua.
According to a spokesperson for the students and a student of the Delta State University, Abraka, who preferred anonymity: “Please, government should leave this man alone; he has been like a father to us, giving us scholarships and supporting our cause. We wonder why a residential area should become a training route for military aircraft. Why cover up the truth in pursuit of lies? If government fails to address some of these pertinent questions begging for answers, we will mobilize all Nigerian students for a mass protest nationwide in solidarity with our father, Prophet T.B. Joshua”.
Meanwhile, the police witness, DSP Olushola Agboyi, still maintained his position that the Synagogue building collapsed as a result of sabotage through an explosion with either electronic or chemical devices.
Despite subtle threats from the magistrate, he stood his ground saying, “I have firm belief through thorough investigation conducted by me and my men that we can’t rule out the issue of sabotage. I came to the conclusion that it was a case of either chemical or electronic demolition due to the following three facts: first, when I got to the scene of the incident, I discovered the buildings fell with floors laying on each other. Secondly, I discovered that the smoke like particles from the video is typical of explosions which I learnt from my training as a police officer. Thirdly, the building fell in one swoop and in seconds which is a clear example of controlled demolition.”
Finally, the counsel to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Olalekan Ojo, explained why Prophet T.B. Joshua could not make it to the coroner’s inquest. He insisted that the prophet, as the chief mourner, had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders especially in lieu of the repatriation of 74 of the victims’ bodies to South Africa.
“As you can see from the antecedents of this coroner, even if he had come today, it would have been a sheer waste of time since only one witness spoke whereas three were scheduled to. Also, he is very busy attending to the needs of the victims,” he said.
The inquest, which closed unexpectedly early, is due to continue on Friday 21st November 2014.
Nosa Osazuwa has been present at the Ikeja High Court from the beginning of the coroner’s inquest.