The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), via a statement released through their social media page on Facebook, has warned media houses about releasing ‘unconfirmed stories’ about the cause of the tragic building collapse that claimed over 100 lives.
Specifying two stories published in Nigeria’s Vanguard and Guardian Newspapers, The SCOAN urged ‘the media to take necessary steps towards avoiding the publication of unconfirmed stories in future’, adding that ‘we should not pre-empt and interfere with the ongoing investigation’.
The Vanguard published an article titled, ‘Synagogue: We Sealed Off Building Before Collapse – LSBCA’, culled from South African online media portal News24. The story quoted the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Mrs Abimbola Odunayo, as saying that the agency had sealed off the building before it collapsed and that the church ignored the warnings of the agency to stop construction.
Debunking this, The SCOAN stated that, “No contravention notice was served on the church before the collapse because there was no reason for the issuance of such notices, the building had never been sealed off for any reason whatsoever and at no time was any stop-work notice or directive served on the church or pasted on the building.”
According to the statement, the only official letters that came from LSBCA arrived several days after the incident.
“In the above circumstances, we would like to believe that LSBCA has been quoted out of context with the motive of destroying the ongoing investigation into the case as well as casting doubt on the position of the church that the collapse was due to an attack,” the statement, posted to T.B. Joshua’s over 1.3 million followers, stated.
Another article published in Guardian’s newspaper titled, ‘Early Probe Report Indicates Compromise In Synagogue Building,’ was also discredited in the statement.
The article quoted Mr Toyin Ayinde, the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, stating that one of the columns of the collapsed building in the church measured 2 feet by 2 feet. According to him, this was significantly less than the standard size for a building of such height, adding that such structural defects likely contributed to the collapse.
“This publication is also misleading and untrue,” The SCOAN insisted. “There is no doubt that it was calculated to give the impression that the collapse was due to structural defects as against the position of the church to the contrary.”
Investigation into the cause of the tragic collapse is currently ongoing.