Church collapse: Synagogue closes Defence case


Collapsed Synagogue building was in ‘perfect condition’, says witness

Defendants in the Synagogue Church of All Nations( SCOAN) collapsed building trial on Thursday closed their case in the matter

This was after the cross examination of their last witness by the prosecution at a Lagos high court sitting at Igbosere.

During resumed proceedings, the court heard that the mode of collapse of SCOAN Guest House negated the characteristics of collapsed building with structural defects.

Professor of structural engineering, Patrick Nwankwo stated this while being crossed examined by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Yhaqub Oshoala.

Nwankwo, a Professor of Structural Engineering and Construction, an expert witness brought in at the instance of Engr Oladele Ogundeji who is facing trial for the collapsed building before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

“Any defective building whether emanating from under or over reinforcement, poor constructional materials among others will have a ductile type of collapse.

“That of Synagogue Guest House was too catastrophic and such could only have been caused by an external factor”.

Asked by counsel to first defendant, Olalekan Ojo (SAN) what he meant by “the type of collapse”, the professor of structural engineering clarified: “if defective or substandard materials were used, the mode of collapse would be ductile and gradual”.

He shared in the views of the prosecution that a building with defective structural and substandard materials could lead to collapse.

He however maintained: “different mode of types of collapse is dependent on types of materials used.

“The characteristics of a building coming down on itself are different. If it is structural defect or use of defective materials, the mode of collapse will be ductile and gradual.

“This is not the case with the collapsed Synagogue church guest house. This building has about 12 frames. The frames, beams, columns would not all have collapsed at the same time. It can only happen by some external forces,” he said.

While further responding to questions from the DPP, Professor Nwankwo said he was motivated to conduct investigation on the collapsed Synagogue church building by its unusual mode of collapse and professional and academic concern.

“Engr Ogundeji is a known competent professional colleague whom I have known over time,” he stressed.

Nwankwo, who said he conducted the investigation by visiting the place, asking questions, examining the various investigations already carried out and the technical drawings on the building stated that his reports submitted to the court was thorough in the integrity of the profession”.

The professor of structural engineering said he was not involved in the previous enquiries by Corona Inquest on the collapsed Synagogue church building.

Nwankwo, who is also a Master in Orion design Software operation, said what was earlier interpreted from the Orion output was completely wrong because “there’s usually a print out of whatever is rejected by Orion software which was not the case here.

“I used the same 750mm by 225mm and it was not rejected by same Orion design Software as can be seen evidentially in my report.”

Earlier in the cross examination by defence counsels, Mr Oluseye Diyan, Chief Efe Akpofure SAN and Mrs Titi Akinlawon SAN, Nwankwo stated that there were appropriate international standard codes guiding construction industry and he had examined the collapsed Synagogue church building’s structural elements, its design and construction works meeting all the required appropriate codes.

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo adjourned the case to January 24, 2020.





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