Lagos State Government has instituted a Coroner’s Inquest under the Lagos State Coroner’s System Law No. 7 of 2007 to investigate the proximate and remote causes of the collapsed building within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations founded by celebrated Pastor TB Joshua.
The inquest, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Justice, was instituted by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, under section 15 of the Coroner Law, which provides that a Coroner shall hold an inquest whenever he is informed that the death of a person lying within his Coroner District was as a result of a violent, unnatural or suspicious occurrence.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris also Friday called on family members and all nationals who believe their relations could have been in the collapsed building to visit the Department of Forensic Medicine at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja from September 26, 2014 to submit samples for the forensic identification and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) analysis.
Idris, however, noted that those eligible to give samples for the forensic identification and DNA analysis in order of preference include: parents, children and siblings of the deceased.
The examination is for proper documentation of the deceased, in line with international best practices, as well as to ensure that each body is delivered to the appropriate family for burial.
Ipaye, in the statement, highlighted that the coroner has extensive powers to investigate the cause and circumstances of death and bring his findings and recommendations to the attention of appropriate authorities.
‘In doing this, he has all the powers of a magistrate to summon and compel the attendance of witnesses, including medical examiners, and require them to give evidence, produce documents or present other relevant materials’, he added.
He said ‘The Law requires the verdict of a Coroner as certified in writing to be forwarded to the State Attorney General and such verdict may form the basis of criminal prosecutions depending on the evidence collected.’
‘The Coroner in this case is Magistrate O. A. Komolafe, who also sat as Coroner in the Dana Air Crash case. He is expected to announce his sitting/visitation schedules and other details and to hold the inquest at the premises of the High Court of Lagos State, Oba Akinjobi Way, Ikeja.’
It would be recalled that two South Africans who lost relatives in the incident recently told the BBC they intend to sue Pastor Joshua.
The two men, Thanduxolo Doro and Mpho Molebatsi who both lost sisters in the collapse, are appealing for more families to come together in bringing a case against the preacher.