Saturday, 20 December 2014

Synagogue: Coroner Suspends Witness Summons On TB Joshua

The coroner’s inquest set up by the Lagos State government to probe the collapse of a building belonging to the Synagogue Church Of All Nations yesterday suspended further actions on the invitation of the founder of the church, Prophet Temitope Joshua to appear before it.

Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, who is presiding over the inquest, was forced to suspend the witness summons issued on Joshua because of an appeal the cleric filed against the Coroner before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court.

It will be recalled that Magistrate Komolafe had issued witness summons on all relevant individuals and institutions including Prophet T.B Joshua to appear before it to give evidence on circumstances surrounding the collapsed building.
Synagogue: Coroner Suspends Witness Summons On TB Joshua
However, Joshua instead of appearing before the inquest had filed an application before Justice Okunnu to stay further proceedings of the inquest and suspend further actions on his invitation to appear to give evidence before it pending the determination of his suit against Magistrate Komolafe before the High Court.

The cleric in the said application dated November 11, 2014 before the High Court and marked ID/188MJR/2014 had asked for a judicial review of the coroner’s proceedings, which began on October 13.

He is also asking the High Court to declare that his invitation to appear as a witness before the coroner was a breach of his right to fair hearing, as no case had been established against his person before the coroner.

He further contested that the coroner had been extending his inquisitions into areas beyond its statutory purview.

Already Justice Okunnu had fixed December 22, 2014 to hear the application.

Komolafe had last week dismissed a similar application filed by Joshua before him on the ground that it was an abuse of court process.

Earlier in his testimony, a Deputy General Manager, Air Traffice Control, with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Rafiq Olubukola Arogunjo confirmed that a Nigeria Airforce Aircraft was on a training mission within the Ikotun area on September 12 when the Synagogue church building collapsed.

Arogunjo who stated that the aircraft never flew directly over the collapsed building noted that the aircraft maintained the statutory 1000 feet flight distance in congested areas.

He further stated that the controversial aircraft had to fly over the Ikotun area for about six times due to the high traffic of in coming aircraft at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

Arogunjo insisted that on each of the six times that the aircraft navigated the Ikotun Area, it maintained a 2700 feet distance from the collapsed building.

He also stated the aircraft which had five crew members operated normally and maintained the minimum distance between a flying aircraft and the tallest building in an area.

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