By Abdulwahab Abdulah
lagos—Attempt by the Lagos State government to arraign Trustees of Synagogue Church of all Nation, SCOAN, and two engineers charged over the collapsed guest house that killed 116 persons in the church was stalled yesterday following a new application by one of the companies.
The new application by HardRock Construction and Engineering Company, E.L Akpofure (SAN) was seeking to quash.
The Trustees of Synagogue Church of all Nation, Engineer Akinbola Fatiregun and his company, HardRock Construction and Engineering Company, Engineer Oladele Ogundeji and his company Jadny Trust Ltd are facing 110 criminal counts of involuntary manslaughter.
It could be recalled that Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo had on February 8 fixed yesterday for arraignment of the defendants having dismissed an earlier application challenging the manner which the court summons was served on the defence.
When the matter was called for the arraignment it could not proceed as counsel to HardRock Construction and Engineering Company, E.L Akpofure (SAN) informed the court that he had filed an application seeking to quash the charge.
Akpofure told the court that there was nothing in the proof of evidence linking his client to the charges before the court.
A similar application was also filed by a lawyer, Olalekan Ojo on behalf of his client, Engineer Oladele Ogundeji
Titilola Akinlanwo (SAN), Counsel to Engineer Fatiregun, also told the court that her client had also filed an application for a stay of the court proceeding, while insisted that the court has the obligation of hearing the application before any arraignment would take place.
Prosecuting team led by Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mrs Idowu Alakija did not oppose the hearing of the applications but asked for reasonable time to response to all the applications.
In his ruling, Justice Lawal-Akapo held that the applications should be taken first before arraignment.
He said: “In view of the decisions of the Appellate Court in Awene v State which states that all interlocutory applications challenging the jurisdiction of the court should be heard first before an arraignment, this court adjourns to March 4, 2016 at 9am for aurgument of all pending applications,”