The criminal negligence trial of Nigerian pastor TB Joshua over a building collapse at his Lagos mega-church that killed more than a hundred people was delayed Thursday for two weeks.
Joshua, church trustees and two engineers are accused of criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter after the 2014 collapse of a guesthouse in the pastor’s sprawling Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) that left 116 people, dead, most of them South African.
Last week, the court threw out a legal challenge by the engineers to stop the trial, but at the hearing Thursday they tried again to halt proceedings.
“The applications should be heard and determined before arraigning the defendants,” judge Lateef Lawal-Akapo said, adjourning the case until March 4.
Joshua, a self-styled faith healer with a following across Africa, was not present in the courtroom.
The trial has had several adjournments since last year due to numerous legal challenges.
A coroner’s ruling in July had blamed the SCOAN and the two engineers for the collapse of the six-storey guesthouse, saying the building had more floors than its foundation could hold.
But Joshua maintains a mysterious “hovering” aircraft that was seen over the building before the tragedy — or a controlled explosion — was to blame for the collapse.
Despite multiple court summons, the televangelist repeatedly refused to give evidence at the earlier coroner’s inquest, causing critics to say the influential pastor is flouting the rule of law in Nigeria.