??Magistrate says neither T.B. Joshua nor SCOAN is on Trial
As the coroner?s inquest into the Synagogue Building Collapse resumed on Wednesday 19th November, 2014, the Police Officer in charge of Homicide at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Lagos, DSP Olushola Agboyi, has told the court that, even though investigation was still on concerning the circumstances surrounding the September 12, 2014 incident, there were strong reasons to suspect internal sabotage as cause of the building collapse.
According to him, the suspicion of sabotage is fuelled by the fact that The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) is an internationally acclaimed church which could have been the easy target of terrorists and other criminals who would want to kill people en masse.
In his written deposition submitted to the court and made available to sections of the media, DSP Agboyi also observed that the sabotage could be the handiwork of lodgers or visitors to The SCOAN. He admitted that from the CCTV footage he watched, the aircraft that flew around the building prior to its collapse was very low and close to the roof of the building. He further said that in his bid to do a thorough job, he had interviewed a total of 34 persons including some eye witnesses and survivors who corroborated his claim that the aircraft flew at a very low altitude and caused panic around the Ikotun area prior to the collapse of the building:
?When I visited the place on the 16th of November 2014, after my preliminary observations, I came to the conclusion that the building collapsed as a function of controlled demolition either electronically or chemically. My deposition is based on the facts on ground. First, when I got there with my team, I saw that the layers or the floors fell on each other like a building that came down in one swoop symmetrically. ?Also, from the CCTV footages we watched and investigated it was obvious that the building collapsed abnormally which is a strong reason we believed there is a saboteur. Furthermore, we spoke with 34 witnesses who confirmed to us that the so called aircraft flew at a very low altitude with caused panic in the community and that some people even reported at the police post. The police control room was also radioed about the flights. Some of the survivors we interviewed also corroborated our suspicion that the angle of saboteur could not be ruled out. I also recommended that the appropriate authorities should do thorough test, examination and scientific investigation of the incident in conjunction with the international world because of technological advancement. Also, the federal government through the inspector General of police has set up a powerful panel of enquiry to look into the incident and we have commenced investigations and contacted relevant agencies but we are impeded by this inquest.?
Earlier on, the DPO of the Ikotun Police Station, CSP Haruna Alaba had told the court that The SCOAN receives no less than seven of his men on a daily basis due largely to the international reputation of the church as a haven to different world leaders and multitudes from around the world.
Meanwhile, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Oyetade Komolafe, has urged both witnesses and counsels in the inquest to disembark from harbouring the erroneous impression that the inquest is aimed at maligning or prosecuting anyone. According to the magistrate, the inquest is purely a fact-finding exercise aimed at unraveling the real cause of the collapse. He said that neither Prophet T.B. Joshua nor The SCOAN was on trial, stressing that all interested parties should be guided by the spirit of patriotism in their testimonies.
There was a mild drama in court when the magistrate wondered why the church would still conduct service on Sunday after the incident and everyone in court voiced out asking whether there was a grand agenda to close the church??Hearing was adjourned to the next day, Thursday November 20, 2014.