Two structural engineers indicted by the Coroner’s inquest into the collapse of a building on the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, have urged Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the police from arresting or questioning them over the incident.
The duo of Ogundeji and Fatiregun who handled the collapsed six-storey building which claimed about 116 lives in September last year, were, on July 8, found guilty by Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, who conducted an inquest into the accident. Oyetade indicted them of criminal negligence and recommended them for criminal prosecution.
Upon the recommendation, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, hinted of his readiness to implement the coroner’s verdict including filing criminal charges against the church and the two engineers.
However, Ogundeji and Fatiregun, through their lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, appeared yesterday before Justice Idris with an ex-parte application to restrain the police from inviting or arresting them for questioning. Sued are the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, the Attorney General of Lagos State and the coroner, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe. Ojo, while seeking the protection of the court for the engineers, disclosed that the police had been after them, claiming that their constitutional rights to dignity and personal liberty, enshrined in Sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution were at stake as they could no longer move about freely.
The lawyer added that the police had visited the home of Ogundeji, saying that when they did not see him they arrested and detained his brother-in-law.