Opinion

SCOAN/LSG Satire: Whose report should we believe?

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The continued trial of trustees and two engineers of the Synagogue Church for all Nations, Scoan – Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, and their companies, Hardrock Construuction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited, before Justice Lateef Lawal Akapo, on 111 count charge for their involvement in the collapsed six-storey building is seen by analysts as a satire with a political undertone.

 

The charges by the Lagos State Government bordering on criminal negligence, manslaughter and failure to obtain a building permit, makes a good script for a hilarious political satire.

 

It would be recalled that the collapse on September 12, 2014 opened a tag-team wrestling bout between the state government and the judiciary on one side, and scientists, technocrats in the building industry and the police on the other side.

 

The satire continued last Thursday at the Ikeja high court where the prosecution fielded structural engineer, Mr. Omoluwa Fadayomi whose submission was a replay of the Lagos State Material Testing Agency’s earlier report which claimed that the guest house collapsed due to “defects in its foundation”.

 

Fadayomi added that the collapse was caused by “structural defects as a result of inadequate use of the required materials.”

 

Observers faulted this claim as Scoan, a church not funded from tithes and offerings, in the beginning and which solid auditorium, ranks with ancient monasteries in structure and solid foundation, is unlikely to engage unprofessional builders or permit the purchase of cheap building materials for the six storey guest house under investigation.

 

For those in the know, the building of Prophet T.B. Joshua’s personal residence at Egbe in 1994 involved top construction professionals. Built beside a swampy terrain, no cost was spared; the foundation and casting was so solid it was thought the project was for something other than his residence.

 

Also, those who watched the rise of the synagogue building will recall the quality of workmen and materials that went into it. How then would such organisation employ cheap materials for a structure designed to accommodate local and international guests?

 

The now international prophet extraordinaire Chronicles

In the beginning of the trial, one Mr. Folayan, a geo-tech engineer in practice for over four decades, who appeared for the defence, had told Magistrate Oyetade that the soil under the foundation of the collapsed building did not fail. He gave this insight after examining the collapse site:

 

“After the collapse, all foundation pads of the building were intact; the steel and concrete pillars protruding from the ground showed no trace of stress or cracks.

 

“Even an unlearned person can deduce from the CCTV footage that the collapse was not consistent with other known buildings that have collapsed as a result of structural failure, so even a layman cannot be talking of structural or soil failure here,” the expert had told the judge.

 

It would be recalled also, that the Coroner appointed by the government had ignored the CCTV footage which showed the six-storey building falling down in less than four seconds – a manner consistent with controlled or externally induced demolition, according to experts.

 

Sabotage by external forces – Nigeria Police

Also, the interim report and investigation submitted to the court by the Nigerian Police Force pointed to sabotage by external forces.

 

The Coroner also listened to an explosives expert and researcher, Mr. Biedomo Iguniwei, who testified that the collapse was caused by an infrasonic weapon fired at the Church by the aircraft that hovered over the building.

 

To buttress this insight, a specialist in blast and explosive said, “When a building collapses, especially a high-rise one that holds a large amount of dead-weight besides the live-weights, and after its collapse the foundation columns remain intact, its steel and concrete pillars protruding from the ground are not stressed … that effect can only be the result of high energy infrasound absorbed over a programmed period of time.

 

Unraveling the reaction when a connection is made between an infrasonic source and a chosen target, Hassan employed a scientific word ‘Resonance’ which he says, occurs when a connection is made between a source and a target which are vibrating at the same frequency.

 

“Now, let me tell you the worrisome part of this science: Resonance can be induced by generating electromagnetic radiation with a unit called infrasonic pulse generator, which can establish a link with a selected target, for instance again, like that of SCOAN building that collapsed.

 

“Once this connection occurs, and the power level of the generator is increased (just like you would adjust the power output of your normal generating set while it is working), it will automatically transfer the energy to the building. If the intensity level is high enough, the building can suffer a crumbling collapse.

 

“When an aircraft was reported to have hovered over that environment a while before the building collapsed, scientists know what has taken place; it is not supposed to be knowledge for governors or judges; but if judges cannot accept analysis of professionals in that terrain, the consequence in the short or long run may turn out to be like holding a tiger by the tail.

 

“Now, suppose that knowledge of infrasonic weapons gets into wrong hands and the government or security men don’t know it: it means they can choose selected targets and strike at will. And because people would be looking at structural or soil failures for the cause of the disaster that will follow, the terrorists are shielded and free to continue wrecking havoc unknown and unrecognised. I pray that won’t happen in my time.

 

So with all the submissions for and counter submissions against thus far, whose report do we believe? Should stakeholders expect true justice from the state government that ignores scientific and professional proofs?

We have heard the line, “My hands are tied” in the judiciary, but whatsoever becomes of this case, stakeholders are in consensus that government will go, and the government will come, but SCOAN will remain an unfolding mystery.

 

Mark my words

Famutimi Femi is a writer for theheraldng. He is also a lawyer by trade. His hobbies include reading and writing, he also loves Renaissance art.

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