by Ikechukwu Njoku | Freelance
Nigerian Prophet T.B. Joshua has launched a scathing attack against the verdict of the coroner’s court in Lagos yesterday which ruled the tragic collapse of a building within his church last year was due to structural failure.
“The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) rejects the verdict of the coroner on the grounds that it is unreasonable, one-sided and biased,” a statement released via their official Facebook page read, attributed to Barr. Olalekan Ojo, lead counsel to The SCOAN.
“The church maintains its stand that the incident was as a result of sabotage,” the statement continued, further adding that the public should not be misled by media reports casting sensational headlines suggesting the church was liable for prosecution over ‘criminal negligence’.
The statement highlighted that no evidence was found that The SCOAN hired incompetent professionals or used substandard materials in the construction of the building.
“There was no finding that connected the incident with the lack of a building permit,” the statement proceeded, adding that the process of procuring the necessary approval was well underway and had been assessed and accepted by relevant government agencies before the incident.
“The church disagrees most vehemently with the finding that the incident was due to structural failure,” continued the strongly worded statement, insisting the verdict failed to consider substantial evidence which pointed to sabotage and ruled out structural failure.
“It was a one-sided verdict which left many issues unaddressed and questions unanswered.”
The SCOAN highlighted that the verdict failed to even recognise the CCTV footage released by the church which showed “the 6-storey building falling in less than 4 seconds – a manner consistent with controlled or externally induced demolition”.
It concluded by stating that Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe’s admission “that the conduct of the investigation of the incident was compromised… calls into question the integrity and reliability of the entire investigation.”
Joshua’s supporters were vocal in their support of the ‘prophet’ in the thousands of comments posted beneath the statement, many insisting the verdict was the work of ‘the devil’.
“If you bury a lie, it will rot. If you bury the truth, it will rise,” wrote Opeyemi Oduwole. “We South Africans know what happened to the building; we know the truth. No matter how they lie, the truth will prevail,” added Bridget Mkhonto.
Joshua followed up on the statement by posting a video on Facebook highlighting the differences between controlled demolition and structural failure with the caption, “No matter how fast a lie runs, the truth will someday overtake it.”
Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance journalist who writes about the Synagogue Church of All Nations and its leader, Prophet T. B. Joshua. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.