By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Monsur Olowoopejo & Ikenna Asomba
Barely two weeks after the collapse of the guest house at Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, a fresh indication emerged yesterday that the church was given an approval for a 12-storey building by the Lagos State government.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television, yesterday, Mr. Ken Emeakayi, an aide to Prophet T.B Joshua, refuted reports that the building had no approval.
He said: “It is not true and I stand to be corrected. I want to also point out that whosoever said that was not saying the correct thing, because I also listened to a commissioner of Lagos State, when he came to your studio. He said that when he got there, he discovered that there was no approval for the building, meaning that he has not been there before and there was nothing of such. Yes, the church had approval.”
Asked if the church had shown the approval to the Lagos State Government authorities, he said: “Yes, ofcourse. Officials of Lagos State Government have been there severally. They have even come to look at other buildings in the church premises. So, there is no additional sturcture to the building. We are talking of a building that is on its own. We have the pictures. It’s a new structure.
“The building is still under construction, but it is not as if it is an attachment to the church auditorium. It is a building standing on its own and in a different compound. It is a guest house. It is a building that has its own design and approval. This particular structure in question, has an approval for 12-storey building and they have even come to examine the foundation and its casting after this incident. They have therefore seen that it was done with the specification of a 12-storey building.”
When contacted, Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, declined comment on the matter saying, “there will be no further comment on the collapsed Synagogue building until investigations into the matter are concluded and the report made public.”
Lagos is conducting thorough investigation— Fashola
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, declared that the state government is conducting thorough investigation to unravel the facts surrounding the collapse of a six-storey building owned by the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, saying, “we are acting methodically on the issue.”
This came two weeks after the six-storey guest house owned by SCOANs killed over 100 persons and 131 others rescued.
Fashola, who stated this during a courtesy visit by the executive members of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, NITP, led by its President, Mr. Steve Onu, at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, warned residents to refrain from making false statements on the collapsed building.
The governor, while reacting to complaints from residents, demanding immediate action said: ”People must understand that when accidents like this happen, there are many issues involved. Perhaps, we have got used to what was amounts to an inappropriate conduct on arrival at an accident scene and make pronouncements on what happened before the investigations are concluded.
“Residents must desist from this act and wait for professionals to make pronouncements. I think we should just allow that process to go on. I think the investigation will be held if we refrain from any further comment about this incident. So, some of the people we took away from the accident scenes, who are in coma and who are in shock, people count them as dead people.
“This kind of behaviour must stop. Unless there is anybody keeping dead bodies in his house and private hospital, we are the regulators and all those bodies come to our mortuaries. So, we must account for them.” he warned.