Synagogue tragedy: Court fixes Nov 2 to rule on Engineer’s case

Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos Friday adjourned ruling till November 2, 2015, on preliminary objections  filed by one of the engineers who built the collapsed Synagogue Church Of All Nations’ building, Mr. Akinbela Fatiregun.
Fatiregun who was indicted by the coroner put up to investigate the collapsed building in Synagogue church had dragged the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria and the Attorney-General of Lagos State before the court.
He was seeking an order to stop the respondent from inviting, arresting and detaining him over the collapsed church in which 116 people died.
Also joined in the suit are the Lagos Coroner, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, who indicted him of criminal negligence over the death of the 116 persons.
The engineer is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State from arresting, detaining, investigating or prosecuting him based on Komolafe’s verdict and recommendations.
He also prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos State Attorney-General or any officer under his authority, from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings against him based on the coroner’s verdict.
Fatiregun through his lawyer, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, at the Friday’s proceedings informed the court that his  client considered the coroner’s verdict a nullity and maintained that there was no basis for the police to invite, arrest or investigate them.
However, the Lagos state government and the Coroner in their preliminary objections, filed and argued by their lawyer,  Mr. A.A. Bakare, said the engineer’s case was not fundamental rights enforcement in nature but one intending to stop government agents from performing their statutory and constitutionally recognised duties.
The respondents informed the court no one indicted the builder, and that all that was recommended by the coroner was police investigation and if found culpable, charge the builder to court.
They argued that the police have invited the engineer to ‘come and tell his own side of the story, saying that it does not amount to human rights violation.
Both Lagos state government and Coroner therefore urge the court not to allow the applicant to pervert the course of justice.
Also, on its part, COREN informed court that the reliefs being sought by the engineer were not provided for under Chapter 4 of the constitution.
COREN informed the court that as a statutory body established by law, it has the duty to investigate any of its members for professional misconduct.

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