SCOAN to face trial on the 18th February

The September 12th building collapse killed 115 people

The September 12th building collapse killed 115 people

On February the 8th, SCOAN’s latest attempt to pervert the cause of justice was put to rest and the date was set for the trial of the SCOAN trustees and the engineers.

It is surprising the amount of energy and money SCOAN have spent in order to try and bury this case. The charge expected to be brought against them is one count of building without approval, for which they may have to pay a small fine. It’s the engineers who will suffer the major consequences if found guilty of 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter. It would appear to be going in SCOAN’s favour, they get a slap on the wrist for not completing the right paperwork, the engineers get a prison sentence. They have the perfect fall guy. However, if it’s as simple as this, why are they spending so much money on top flight lawyers to avoid a ~$1000 fine? Two possibilities come to mind 1) they know that they are ultimately responsible, for example they instructed the contractor to build on the cheap and they know the truth will come out, or 2) they just can’t allow a situation to arise where their “infallible” general overseer is found by a court of law to be in the wrong, even if it’s for a relatively “trivial” reason.

Whatever their reasoning, it is good to see the court case finally moving forward. The one fact nobody is disputing is that at least 115 people lost their lives on September 12th 2014. Their families deserve justice, and they deserve the truth. TB Joshua and SCOAN have not been helping this process with their constant attempts to exploit loopholes in the law to shut down proceedings, or their attempts to sway public opinion by presenting “evidence” on youtube while snubbing court summons. It is about time a heavy hand was used against them to bring closure to this tragedy.

For those who still believe in the SCOAN stories of a mystery airplane or terrorist attack, we remind you that these theories were covered and dismissed in the coroner’s report. The cause of the collapse was very clear based on extensive evidence provided by 3 independent engineering agencies. Their conclusion was the building was so structurally deficient a collapse was inevitable. Some of the issues they highlighted include:

  • 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

Reading the full report leaves do doubt in the readers mind that the building was unsafe. This makes it even more shocking that SCOAN would try so hard to counteract the plain truth. Whatever happened to the 9th commandment “You shall not bear false witness”?

 

No show from TB Joshua and case adjourned until Dec 11th

Today resulted in yet another delay to the case against SCOAN and their engineers. TB Joshua (the “chief mourner“) disrespected the dead again by not even bothering to show up, though he did send representatives. There was a no-show from the engineers too, apparently two of the defendants gave invalid addresses so they couldn’t be served. The judge was apparently furious at the absent defendents.

The judge adjourned the case to the 11th December in order to have all defendants present. Check out Nicholas Ibekwe’s twitter account for first hand reports from today’s proceedings.

Charges to be brought against TB Joshua today

TB Joshua, the rest of the SCOAN trustees and the engineers responsible for constructing SCOAN’s stricken building are to have charges brought against them in court today. You can read more about it here: http://saharareporters.com/2015/11/29/tb-joshua-goes-trial-deaths-116-people-church-building-collapse

Let’s pray for courage and integrity for those in authority, pray that the proceedings will be peaceful, that justice will be served, and a message will go out loud and clear that nobody in Nigeria is above the law, no matter how rich and powerful they are. Also, remember the other victims of TB Joshua in your prayers – the many disciples and church workers who live in captivity on the SCOAN compound, abused, worked like slaves and with no freedom of movement. Pray that the outcome of today’s proceedings might help facilitate their safe deliverance from SCOAN to be reunited with friends and family and begin rebuilding their lives.

TB Joshua blames building collapse on UFO attack

TB Joshua had an informal meeting with several journalists to talk about the building collapse. He asked that the camera be switched off, and the cameraman put down the camera but bravely left it rolling so the whole conversation was recorded (though not very high quality). Here is one journalist’s account of the event:

Journalists, who initially tried to cover the collapse of a building inside the premises of Synagogue Church of all Nations, owned by Prophet T.B. Joshua, saw hell in the hands of the church members.

The church members descended on journalists, who tried to take any photograph of the collapse building. Some journalists got their cameras smashed and other were seriously beaten for attempting to steal some shots of the collapsed building. A particular TV station had the windscreen of its car smashed by the members. What they were trying to hide is still difficult to understand.

By the next day, obviously having read the reports on some of the newspapers, Prophet T.B Joshua surfaced and tried to do some damage control. He invited journalists, who had returned to cover the rescue effort, despite the treatment they got the previous day, to his office in the church premises for a meeting. First he instructed all the cameras to be turned off on the grounds that he doesn’t want his face to be seen and that he was not properly dressed. Then he went to blatantly deny his church members were responsible for the treatment meted to journalists the previous day. He blamed the act on the people of the community absolving his church members. And then out of his ‘benevolence’, he apologized for what the ‘people of the community’ did.

Done with the apology, he then went on to detail what could at best be described as a conspiracy theory as being responsible for the collapse of the building. The building itself had been partially completed and people had been living in it. By this time it was a four-storey building. And then sometime this year, the church decided to add two more storey. People were living in the building while work was going. That accounts for the huge number of causality.

But Prophet T.B Joshua sees things differently. He told journalists that five minutes before the building came down, a mystery plane had hovered above the building about four times.

Please take your time to listen to the video as Prophet T.B. tells his tales.

As unbelievable as it may sound, you read that correctly – he has claimed that a mysterious plane or helicopter flying close to the church compound caused the building to collapse.

Even if we entertain this ridiculous hypothesis for one moment, it still doesn’t let SCOAN off the hook one iota. Is he saying that the buildings on his multimillion dollar church compound are so shoddily built that the noise of a nearby aircraft could cause it to fall? Or is he saying that the UFO had some alien, invisible ray gun technology that remotely disintegrated the foundations of the building? Far be it for us to make fun of this dreadful situation, but how else are we meant to understand his explanation?

TB Joshua is the real victim

Workers and visitors were housed in this unfinished building before it collapsed.

Workers and visitors were housed in this unfinished building before it collapsed.

Secondly we should note that not once did TB Joshua express any sympathy or remorse for the senseless deaths caused by his shoddy buildings. Nor has he even acknowledge that anyone had died, even though official numbers are now listed at 17. Instead he waffles on about madcap conspiracy theories based on the fact a mysterious surveillance camera was discovered on the church site, and an unidentified flying object was nearby when the building collapsed. The deaths were incidental to him, the real victim of this attack is TB Joshua. You can see exactly this attitude on the TB Joshua facebook page, I challenge anyone to find a single comment expressing sympathy to the bereaved families.

How will the Nigerian government react?

Numerous times we have expected the Nigerian government to take a stand against TB Joshua’s shameful and embarrassing antics. We called for him to be arrested when he pretended Boko Haram were trying to bomb his live service. By the governments own words, he should have been locked up after promoting his anointed water as a cure for Ebola.

According to the law in Lagos, any building that collapses during or after construction will be seized by the government. The General Manager of LASEMA (Lagos State Emergency Management Agency) was asked whether the state government was considering revoking the land title in accordance with the policy on  collapsed buildings, he could not give a definite response. He simply said the state government had commenced investigation into the possible cause of the collapsed building for appropriate action to be taken (source).

If one building at SCOAN has been built without following proper regulations, it is very likely that others have too. The government should immediately order a full inspection of all buildings and related documentation.

Regardless of what may be said by TB Joshua, it is quite clear to any rationally minded individual that this tragedy was caused by unauthorised and unregulated building work, and allowing people to live and use a building that was still under construction. It is also quite clear to any rationally minded person that the alternative hypothesis presented by TB Joshua is verging on insane, and shows his complete lack of respect and compassion towards his victims.

Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones. We pray that it might not be in vain, and that other similar tragedies will be avoided by measures taken in the light of this one.