Two years ago today, 115 people seeking healing and an encounter with God died when the building they were staying in collapsed on top of them. Countless others were injured, some never being able to walk or work again. In July 2015, the coroner released his report – proving that the building collapsed was inevitable due to a litany of serious structural failings, for example:
- Inadequate beams of 750mm by 225mm (should have been 900mm by 300mm)
- Inadequately reinforced columns (should have been reinforced with 12 x Y25 bars or 20 x Y20mm bars. Instead they used 10 x Y20 bars (as seen in the video released by SCOAN).
- Inadequate bearing pressure for the central column due to the 2m x 2m x 0.9m foundations.
- Failure to introduce rigid zones for bracing the structure and did not design the frames as an unbraced structure.
- Failure to provide movement joints that could have absorbed any movement due to creep, contraction, expansion and differential settlement etc..
- 8 out of the 12 main beams of the structure failed because they were undersized, under-reinforced (both in tension and shear), the tension bars were poorly anchored to the column supports and 8 x Y20 was used instead of 14 x Y20.
- The ground floor columns were slender and readily gave in to buckling
The coroner Oyetade Komolafe ruled that SCOAN were criminally negligent, and should be investigated and prosecuted, “The church was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of the victims” (Source: BBC).
In April 2016, after many attempts by SCOAN to disrupt or stall the court proceedings, charges were finally read. The charges are “failure to obtain building approval contrary to Section 75 of the Urban and Regional Planning Law of Lagos State 2010 and involuntary manslaughter causing death contrary to Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011“. In June 2016, the trial started, but after a couple of days it went silent without conclusion. SCOAN have not been cleared of the charges, but nor have they been found guilty – the whole case has gone silent.
Where is the justice for the many families who have lost loved ones, or those whose lives will never be the same again due to their horrific injuries? Come on Lagos Stage Government, you can do better than this – show your authority and bring this case to a conclusion. Even if you are a SCOAN supporter, surely you can agree with us that it is not in SCOAN’s favour to have this unconcluded criminal investigation over their head? Reports show that visitors to SCOAN has reduced by up to 90%. Either SCOAN is guilty and should face the consequences of their lethal actions, or they should have their name cleared. This limbo situation is in nobodies favour (except SCOAN, if they know they are guilty).